Bobby J sews up Paris-Nice

Bobby Julich takes one of the best wins of his long career as CSC repel all attempts to break their

Bobby Julich takes one of the best wins of his long career as CSC repel all attempts to break their
PIC BY TDWSPORT.COM After a weekend when Team CSC's rivals tried everything they could to shake the Danish squad's control over Paris-Nice but failed to derail them, Bobby Julich was confirmed as the overall winner of the 'race to the sun'. In the end his margin was just 10 seconds over Illes Balears' Alejandro Valverde, who won the final stage on the Promenade des Anglais and picked up a 10-second bonus for his effort. Another Spaniard, Constantino Zaballa, was third. Arguably Julich's best result since his third place finish in the 1998 Tour de France was secured thanks to some typically strong team riding from CSC. They gradually clawed back a decent advantage gained in the first half of the stage by a seven-man break that included mountains leader David Moncouti (Cofidis), Oscar Pereiro (Phonak), Alberto Contador (Liberty Seguros) and Britain's Charly Wegelius (Liquigas-Bianchi). During the initial ramps of the final climb of the day, the first-cat Col d'Eze, the break split. As attacks began to come from the chasing peloton closing in behind, Contador was soon the only one of the breakaways still out at the front. Alexandre Vinokourov, winner of the equivalent stage last year, was very active on the climb, as was Valverde. But Julich's team-mate Jens Voigt more than had the measure of both. Vinokourov finally managed to get away on the descent back into Nice, where Contador almost came to grief when his chain dropped. As the Spaniard manoeuvred and then regained his composure and rhythm, the Kazakh got up to him with just half a dozen kilometres from the finish. But if Vinokourov was expecting some help in staying clear of the hard-chasing bunch, he was to be disappointed, as Contador, no doubt under instructions from team boss Manolo Saiz, refused to work. Visibly frustrated, Vinokourov drove on towards the line, but the break was doomed. With the line in sight, Contador finally made an effort to stay clear, but the pack was on him and Valverde was soon leading it across the line to register his biggest win outside Spain. The main prizes, though, went to CSC, with Julich taking a first Paris-Nice title and Voigt the not inconsiderable consolation of the points jersey. Stage 7, Nice-Nice 1 Alejandro Valverde (Spa) Illes Balears 135km in 3.28.29 (38.85kph) 2 Franco Pellizotti (Ita) Liquigas-Bianchi 3 Kim Kirchen (Lux) Fassa Bortolo 4 Yaroslav Popovych (Ukr) Discovery Channel 5 Alexandre Vinokourov (Kaz) T-Mobile 6 Jens Voigt (Ger) CSC 7 Alberto Contador (Spa) Liberty Seguros 8 Davide Rebellin (Ita) Gerolsteiner 9 Thomas Dekker (Hol) Rabobank 10 Constantino Zaballa (Spa) Saunier Duval 12 Cadel Evans (Aus) Davitamon-Lotto 13 Thomas Lovkvist (Swe) Franaise des Jeux 15 Bobby Julich (USA) CSC 41 Tom Danielson (USA) Discovery Channel 1.48 46 Floyd Landis (USA) Phonak 64 Charles Wegelius (GB) Liquigas-Bianchi 6.08 68 Mathew Hayman (Aus) Rabobank 9.46 Overall 1 Bobby Julich (USA) CSC 22.32.13 2 Valverde 0.10 3 Zaballa 0.19 4 Voigt 0.44 5 Jorg Jaksche (Ger) Liberty Seguros 0.45 6 Pellizotti 0.49 7 Frank Schleck (Lux) CSC 0.58 8 Evans 9 Jos Angel Gomez (Spa) Saunier Duval 1.20 10 Rebellin 1.21 12 Lovkvist 1.36 31 Thomas Dekker 5.41 38 Danielson 7.12 46 Landis 12.02 81 Hayman 33.11 82 Wegelius 36.53
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