P-Nice 5: Gibo wins, but Bobby leads

Gilberto Simoni wins the Paris-Nice stage to the summit of Mont Faron, while the leader's jersey goe

Gilberto Simoni wins the Paris-Nice stage to the summit of Mont Faron, while the leader's jersey goe
PIC BY TDWSPORT.COM Gilberto Simoni's busy racing programme leading up to Paris-Nice paid dividends when the Lampre-Caffita climber won today's prestigious Mont Faron stage. It was a good day all round for resurgent veteran riders, as Bobby Julich finished in the small group just seconds down on Simoni to take the leader's jersey from Fabian Cancellara. Simoni started his racing season in January at the Tour Down Under having previously seen the likes of Robbie McEwen and Stuart O'Grady come from Australia with lots of form for the early season. Simoni's decision to swap pre-season training camps for warm weather racing down under proved fully justified when he was able to follow all of the moves on Mont Faron, and then make one of his own that no one could counter. The first road stage in four that has not been affected by the weather in terms of route changes was raced at just as frantic a pace as the previous three shorter ones. A break of four riders - Nicolas Jalabert (Phonak), Mathew Hayman (Rabobank), Nicolas Fritsch (Saunier Duval) and Marco Serpellini (Gerolsteiner) - spent more than 100 kilometres away at the front, but were swept up by a much reduced peloton at the foot of Mont Faron. Race leader Cancellara was soon dropped as Liberty Seguros' Jorg Jaksche upped the pace. His team-mate Alberto Contador took over at the front and set an even fiercer rhythm, with Jens Voigt following Jaksche, and Cadel Evans also right up there. Simoni was also in the line behind Contador and just ahead of Julich. Little more than a paved track in places, Mont Faron always offers a spectacular finish with its stunning views right over Toulon and the Med, and the crucial moment of this one came when Saunier's Jos Angel Gomez attacked with little more than 2km left. Simoni countered, pushed on ahead of the Spaniard, who initially responded, but could not then follow the Italian's next acceleration. As Simoni pressed on to the summit and victory, an attack by Evans forced Voigt out of the chasing group. Evans came in 19 seconds behind Simoni and with David Moncouti on his wheel. The Australian boosted himself up to eighth in the process. Tenth place for Julich at 41 seconds gave him the race lead, 19 seconds ahead of Saunier Duval's Constantino Zaballa. The main threat to the American, however, could well prove to be third-placed Alejandro Valverde, who is just 20 seconds down and is, according to his rivals, looking very strong indeed. Mont Faron may be over, but this race is a long way from being decided. Stage 5, Rognes-Mont Faron 1 Gilberto Simoni (Ita) Lampre-Caffita 172.5km in 4.07.26 (41.83kph) 2 Cadel Evans (Aus) Davitamon-Lotto 0.19 3 David Moncouti (Fra) Cofidis 4 Jos Angel Gomez (Spa) Saunier Duval 0.22 5 Franco Pellizotti (Ita) Liquigas-Bianchi 0.25 6 Alejandro Valverde (Spa) Illes Balears 0.33 7 Leonardo Piepoli (Ita) Saunier Duval 8 Constantino Zaballa (Spa) Saunier Duval 9 Davide Rebellin (Ita) Gerolsteiner 0.36 10 Bobby Julich (USA) CSC 0.41 11 Jorg Jaksche (Ger) Liberty Seguros 0.44 14 Thomas Lovkvist (Swe) Francaise des Jeux 1.08 15 Jens Voigt (Ger) CSC 29 Alexandre Vinokourov (Kaz) 1.55 34 Tom Danielson (USA) Discovery Channel 2.10 46 Thomas Dekker (Hol) Rabobank 2.36 55 Floyd Landis (USA) Phonak 3.09 68 Charly Wegelius (GB) Liquigas-Bianchi 3.52 90 Mathew Hayman (Aus) Rabobank 7.10 104 Ian McLeod (SA) Francaise des Jeux 10.01 106 Fred Rodriguez (USA) Davitamon-Lotto 113 Michael Rogers (Aus) Quick Step 121 Aaron Kemps (Aus) Liberty Seguros 122 Carlos Sastre (Spa) CSC 142 David Zabriskie (USA) CSC Overall 1 Bobby Julich (USA) CSC 14.18.18 2 Zaballa 0.19 3 Valverde 0.20 4 Jens Voigt (Ger) CSC 0.44 5 Jorg Jaksche (Ger) Liberty Seguros 0.45 6 Pellizotti 0.55 7 Frank Schleck (Lux) CSC 0.58 8 Evans 9 Juan Antonio Flecha (Spa) Fassa Bortolo 1.12 10 Gomez 1.20 14 Lovkvist 1.36 22 Vinokourov 2.22 24 Simoni 2.25 42 Thomas Dekker 3.37 55 Danielson 5.24 72 Landis 10.14 79 Kemps 10.38 81 Rogers 10.44 91 Zabriskie 13.40 94 Sastre 13.54 106 Rodriguez 19.01 110 Hayman 21.21 122 McLeod 27.45 124 Wegelius 28.42
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