Gustav Larsson flies to rain-affected Paris-Nice time trial victory
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Sunday, March 04, 2012

Gustav Larsson flies to rain-affected Paris-Nice time trial victory

by Ben Atkins at 9:31 AM EST   comments
Categories: Pro Cycling, Race Reports and Results, Paris-Nice
 
Swedish champion enjoys the best of the conditions to take first yellow in the Race to the Sun; Wiggins just a second behind, despite riding in the rain

gustav larssonGustav Erik Larsson (Vacansoleil-DCM) enjoyed the best of the conditions to take a rain-affected stage one time trial to start the 2012 Paris-Nice. As a relatively early starter, the Swedish champion rode on mostly dry roads, which were just a little damp from previous days’ rain, to complete the 9.4km course in 11’19”.

With around twenty of the 176 riders still to start, the rain began to fall again however, which got heavier and heavier, and made the course even more slippery for the race favourites. Despite this, second from last to start Bradley Wiggins (Team Sky) flew around the course just a second and a half slower than Larsson; although he looked as though he was taking great care, the former British champion was almost as fast as the man that had enjoyed the earlier dry weather.

In third place was Levi Leipheimer (Omega Pharma-Quick Step) who set out just ten minutes after Larsson and so enjoyed the same conditions.

"We made the right choice by starting in the middle of the field. It was much better than for the guys at the end,” admitted Larsson afterwards. “I wasn’t really sure of myself because it was only my second race this season. My legs were very hard, but as good as they were, it did it.

“Prologues are the best wins because you get to wear the yellow jersey,” he continued. “It’s a great start to the season for me. I hope to continue that good start. It’s a really good moment, it’s not the Olympics, it’s not the worlds, the Giro stage was pretty good. But Paris-Nice is a great race to be in the lead of.

“We will see how it goes for the jersey,” added the Swede. “It’s very hard when you get to the big mountains but we will try to hang on to it as long as possible.”

It may not just be the climbers that Larsson has to worry about threatening his yellow jersey however. An in-form Tom Boonen (Omega Pharma-Quick Step) finished in eleventh place, just 15 seconds down; with time bonuses on the finish line, and at the intermediate sprints, the Belgian is a possible candidate to take yellow on the flat second stage.

A dry-ish start is good for the early riders

The race began under overcast skies, with the roads a little damp and Alexandre Geniez (Project 1t4i) was the first to roll down the start ramp; seting a reasonable time of 12’10” for the 9.4km course. Fifth man to ride though, was Denis Menchov (Katusha), and he immediately knocked eight seconds off the time with 12’02”.

Menchov was only at the top for less than two minutes however, as Thomas Dekker (Garmin-Barracuda) flew around the course to lower the best time further to 11’56”. The Dutchman too, would find his stay in the hot seat to be a short one, as he was beaten by a succession of riders,

Sylvain Chavanel (Omega Pharma-Quick Step) lowered it further to 11’32”, but just twelve minutes later Thomas De Gendt (Vacansoleil-DCM) went fractionally faster than the former French champion with 11’31”

45 minutes later though, Larsson set out on the course; despite being fully six seconds slower than Vacansoleil-DCM teammate De Gendt at the top of the Côte des Dix-sept Tournants after just 1.8km, the Swede was much faster over the remainder of the course and finished twelve seconds faster, with a time of 11’19”

Ten minutes after Larsson, Leipheimer went close, finishing just four seconds behind, but he was the last rider to get near the Swedish champion until Wiggins almost an hour and a half later.

The rain returns, spells bad luck for the favourites, and disaster for a Classics man

As Ivan Basso (Liquigas-Cannondale) was the first of the final batch of big names set out, a light rain began to fall, worsening the conditions for the later riders. Spanish champion Luis Leon Sanchez (Rabobank) overcooked the first corner as the roads became slippery, and the rain began to get heavier as the final few riders approached their start times.

Ronde van Vlaanderen winner Nick Nuyens (Saxo Bank) came down hard however, and limped around the rest of the course to finish in last place, 6’11” behind Larsson. The Belgian was taken to local hospital straight away, but hopes to be able to continue the race.

“Luckily, there are no broken bones,” Nuyens explained. “But naturally, I'm sore and especially my hip took a hard beating in the crash. My preparations for the Ronde van Vlaanderen are only in danger if I'm unable to complete Paris-Nice so I'm really hoping that I'll be back in the saddle tomorrow.”

With the roads now very wet, the final starters - Bradley Wiggins (Team Sky), Andreas Kloden (RadioShack-Nissan), and Tony Martin (Omega Pharma-Quick Step) - had little chance, with getting around the course upright becoming the main priority.

Simon Gerrans (GreenEDGE) managed to salvage a respectable time, finishing just 23 seconds behind Larsson; but Wiggins’ speed was contradicting his conservative appearance.

The former British champion flew around the final wet corners to cross the line just a second and a half behind Larsson’s time to go into second place. Martin was rather more circumspect however, crossing the line 24 seconds back in his sodden rainbow jersey.

A good day for Vacansoleil-DCM saw De Gendt’s time at the top of the Côte des Dix-sept Tournants stand as the fastest, giving the Belgian the polka-dot mountain jersey to go with Larsson’s yellow and green ones. The white, young riders’ jersey was taken by fourth place Tejay Van Garderen (BMC Racing).

Result stage 1
1. Gustav Erik Larsson (Swe) Vacansoleil-DCM 9.4km in 11’19”
2. Bradley Wiggins (GBr) Team Sky @ 1s
3. Levi Leipheimer (USA) Omega Pharma-Quick Step @ 4s
4. Tejay Van Garderen (USA) BMC Racing @ 9s
5. Thomas De Gendt (Bel) Vacansoleil-DCM @ 12s
6. Sylvain Chavanel (Fra) Omega Pharma-Quick Step @ 12s
7. Rein Taaramäe (Est) Cofidis @ 13s
8. Markel Irizar (Spa) RadioShack-Nissan @ 13s
9. Rémi Pauriol (Fra) FDJ-BigMat @ 15s
10. Jérôme Coppel (Fra) Saur-Sojasun @ 15s

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Paris-Nice 2012 Stage 1 Results:

  Click on the arrowsat the top of the column to sort the race results.
Country Result Name Team Time
swe SWE 1 Gustav Erik Larsson (Vacansoleil - DCM Pro Cycling Team) 00:11:19
gbr GBR 2 Bradley Wiggins (Sky Procycling) 00:00:01
usa USA 3 Levi Leipheimer (Omega Pharma - Quickstep) 00:00:04
usa USA 4 Tejay Van Garderen (BMC Racing Team) 00:00:09
bel BEL 5 Thomas De Gendt (Vacansoleil - DCM Pro Cycling Team) 00:00:12
fra FRA 6 Sylvain Chavanel (Omega Pharma - Quickstep) s.t.
est EST 7 Rein Taaramäe (Cofidis - Le Credit En Ligne) 00:00:13
esp ESP 8 Markel Irizar Aranburu (RadioShack - Nissan) s.t.
fra FRA 9 Rémi Pauriol (Equipe Cycliste FDJ - BigMat) 00:00:15
fra FRA 10 Jérome Coppel (Saur - Sojasun) s.t.
bel BEL 11 Tom Boonen (Omega Pharma - Quickstep) s.t.
ger GER 12 Jens Voigt (RadioShack - Nissan) 00:00:17
ger GER 13 Patrick Gretsch (1t4i) s.t.
nor NOR 14 Thor Hushovd (BMC Racing Team) s.t.
bel BEL 15 Maxime Monfort (RadioShack - Nissan) s.t.
aus AUS 16 Richie Porte (Sky Procycling) s.t.
esp ESP 17 José Ivan Gutierrez Palacios (Movistar Team) 00:00:18
usa USA 18 Taylor Phinney (BMC Racing Team) 00:00:19
ned NED 19 Lieuwe Westra (Vacansoleil - DCM Pro Cycling Team) 00:00:20
esp ESP 20 Carlos Barredo Llamazales (Rabobank Cycling Team) 00:00:21
bel BEL 21 Gaetan Bille (Lotto - Belisol Team) 00:00:22
usa USA 22 Brent Bookwalter (BMC Racing Team) 00:00:23
bel BEL 23 Gianni Meersman (Lotto - Belisol Team) s.t.
fra FRA 24 Maxime Bouet (Ag2R - La Mondiale) s.t.
fra FRA 25 Jérémy Roy (Equipe Cycliste FDJ - BigMat) s.t.
aus AUS 26 Simon Gerrans (GreenEdge Cycling Team) s.t.
bel BEL 27 Bart De Clercq (Lotto - Belisol Team) 00:00:24
ger GER 28 Tony Martin (Omega Pharma - Quickstep) 00:00:25
bel BEL 29 Kevin De Weert (Omega Pharma - Quickstep) s.t.
ned NED 30 Bauke Mollema (Rabobank Cycling Team) 00:00:26
fra FRA 31 Blel Kadri (Ag2R - La Mondiale) s.t.
gbr GBR 32 Geraint Thomas (Sky Procycling) s.t.
bel BEL 33 Maarten Wynants (Rabobank Cycling Team) s.t.
rus RUS 34 Vladimir Isaychev (Katusha Team) s.t.
ger GER 35 Christian Knees (Sky Procycling) s.t.
ned NED 36 Karsten Kroon (Team Saxo Bank) 00:00:28
pol POL 37 Jaroslaw Marycz (Team Saxo Bank) s.t.
usa USA 38 Danny Pate (Sky Procycling) 00:00:29
bel BEL 39 Stijn Vandenbergh (Omega Pharma - Quickstep) s.t.
esp ESP 40 Luis Leon Sanchez Gil (Rabobank Cycling Team) s.t.
esp ESP 41 Alejandro Valverde Belmonte (Movistar Team) 00:00:30
ned NED 42 Laurens Ten Dam (Rabobank Cycling Team) s.t.
nzl NZL 43 Gregory Henderson (Lotto - Belisol Team) 00:00:31
slo SLO 44 Simon Spilak (Katusha Team) s.t.
esp ESP 45 Xabier Zandio Echaide (Sky Procycling) s.t.
ned NED 46 Joost Posthuma (RadioShack - Nissan) 00:00:32
kaz KAZ 47 Dmitriy Fofonov (Astana Pro Team) s.t.
aus AUS 48 Adam Leigh Howard (GreenEdge Cycling Team) s.t.
fra FRA 49 Alexandre Pichot (Europcar) s.t.
ger GER 50 John Degenkolb (1t4i) s.t.
esp ESP 51 Jose Joaquin Rojas Gil (Movistar Team) 00:00:33
blr BLR 52 Kanstantsin Siutsou (Sky Procycling) s.t.
esp ESP 53 Imanol Erviti Ollo (Movistar Team) s.t.
bel BEL 54 Kris Boeckmans (Vacansoleil - DCM Pro Cycling Team) 00:00:34
uzb UZB 55 Sergey Lagutin (Vacansoleil - DCM Pro Cycling Team) s.t.
cro CRO 56 Robert Kiserlovski (Astana Pro Team) s.t.
fra FRA 57 Sandy Casar (Equipe Cycliste FDJ - BigMat) s.t.
den DEN 58 Michael Morkov (Team Saxo Bank) 00:00:35
rus RUS 59 Evgeni Petrov (Astana Pro Team) s.t.
ger GER 60 Andréas Klöden (RadioShack - Nissan) 00:00:36
esp ESP 61 Daniel Navarro Garcia (Team Saxo Bank) s.t.
blr BLR 62 Vasil Kiryienka (Movistar Team) s.t.
bel BEL 63 Dries Devenyns (Omega Pharma - Quickstep) s.t.
ned NED 64 Thomas Dekker (Team Garmin - Barracuda) 00:00:37
fra FRA 65 Julien Simon (Saur - Sojasun) s.t.
ned NED 66 Koen De Kort (1t4i) s.t.
aus AUS 67 Simon Clarke (GreenEdge Cycling Team) s.t.
bel BEL 68 Jan Bakelants (RadioShack - Nissan) 00:00:38
fra FRA 69 Amaël Moinard (BMC Racing Team) s.t.
esp ESP 70 Mikel Astarloza (Euskaltel - Euskadi) s.t.
esp ESP 71 Javier Moreno Bazan (Movistar Team) s.t.
ned NED 72 Dennis Van Winden (Rabobank Cycling Team) s.t.
ita ITA 73 Eros Capecchi (Liquigas - Cannondale) s.t.
bel BEL 74 Frederik Veuchelen (Vacansoleil - DCM Pro Cycling Team) 00:00:39
sui SUI 75 Michael Albasini (GreenEdge Cycling Team) 00:00:40
fra FRA 76 Jonathan Hivert (Saur - Sojasun) s.t.
aus AUS 77 Adam Hansen (Lotto - Belisol Team) s.t.
slo SLO 78 Janez Brajkovic (Astana Pro Team) s.t.
col COL 79 Rigoberto Uran (Sky Procycling) 00:00:41
irl IRL 80 Nicolas Roche (Ag2R - La Mondiale) s.t.
ita ITA 81 Diego Ulissi (Lampre - ISD) 00:00:42
bel BEL 82 Kevin Seeldraeyers (Astana Pro Team) s.t.
esp ESP 83 Pello Bilbao Lopez De Armienta (Euskaltel - Euskadi) s.t.
ita ITA 84 Francesco Gavazzi (Astana Pro Team) s.t.
fra FRA 85 Sébastien Minard (Ag2R - La Mondiale) s.t.
rus RUS 86 Denis Menchov (Katusha Team) s.t.
bel BEL 87 Jens Keukeleire (GreenEdge Cycling Team) 00:00:43
ita ITA 88 Tiziano Dall'antonia (Liquigas - Cannondale) s.t.
slo SLO 89 Grega Bole (Lampre - ISD) s.t.
ita ITA 90 Ivan Basso (Liquigas - Cannondale) s.t.
fra FRA 91 Damien Gaudin (Europcar) 00:00:44
kaz KAZ 92 Andrey Kashechkin (Astana Pro Team) s.t.
fra FRA 93 Pierrick Fedrigo (Equipe Cycliste FDJ - BigMat) 00:00:45
fra FRA 94 Anthony Geslin (Equipe Cycliste FDJ - BigMat) s.t.
ger GER 95 Simon Geschke (1t4i) 00:00:46
bel BEL 96 Jan Ghyselinck (Cofidis - Le Credit En Ligne) s.t.
ger GER 97 Dominik Nerz (Liquigas - Cannondale) s.t.
esp ESP 98 Gorka Izagirre Insausti (Euskaltel - Euskadi) 00:00:47
ita ITA 99 Davide Malacarne (Europcar) s.t.
jpn JPN 100 Yukiya Arashiro (Europcar) 00:00:49
ger GER 101 Marcus Burghardt (BMC Racing Team) s.t.
fra FRA 102 Yannick Talabardon (Saur - Sojasun) s.t.
den DEN 103 Jonas Aaen Jorgensen (Team Saxo Bank) 00:00:50
aus AUS 104 Heinrich Haussler (Team Garmin - Barracuda) s.t.
bel BEL 105 Sep Vanmarcke (Team Garmin - Barracuda) s.t.
fra FRA 106 Arnold Jeannesson (Equipe Cycliste FDJ - BigMat) s.t.
fra FRA 107 Cédric Pineau (Equipe Cycliste FDJ - BigMat) s.t.
fra FRA 108 Jean-christophe Peraud (Ag2R - La Mondiale) s.t.
fra FRA 109 Christophe Le Mevel (Team Garmin - Barracuda) s.t.
bel BEL 110 Nikolas Maes (Omega Pharma - Quickstep) 00:00:51
fra FRA 111 Alexandre Geniez (1t4i) s.t.
esp ESP 112 Adrian Saez De Arregi (Euskaltel - Euskadi) s.t.
fra FRA 113 Romain Sicard (Euskaltel - Euskadi) 00:00:52
nor NOR 114 Alexander Kristoff (Katusha Team) s.t.
esp ESP 115 Ángel Vicioso Arcos (Katusha Team) s.t.
ita ITA 116 Daniele Pietropolli (Lampre - ISD) 00:00:53
ltu LTU 117 Aidis Kruopis (GreenEdge Cycling Team) s.t.
bel BEL 118 Bjorn Leukemans (Vacansoleil - DCM Pro Cycling Team) s.t.
bel BEL 119 Klaas Lodewyck (BMC Racing Team) 00:00:54
ita ITA 120 Leonardo Bertagnolli (Lampre - ISD) s.t.
lux LUX 121 Frank Schleck (RadioShack - Nissan) s.t.
fra FRA 122 Hubert Dupont (Ag2R - La Mondiale) s.t.
fra FRA 123 Giovanni Bernaudeau (Europcar) 00:00:55
esp ESP 124 Igor Anton Hernandez (Euskaltel - Euskadi) s.t.
bra BRA 125 Murilo Antonio Fischer (Team Garmin - Barracuda) s.t.
fra FRA 126 Guillaume Levarlet (Saur - Sojasun) s.t.
ger GER 127 Andreas Klier (Team Garmin - Barracuda) s.t.
fra FRA 128 David Lelay (Saur - Sojasun) s.t.
esp ESP 129 Koldo Fernández De Larrea (Team Garmin - Barracuda) s.t.
aus AUS 130 Mark Renshaw (Rabobank Cycling Team) 00:00:56
rus RUS 131 Eduard Vorganov (Katusha Team) s.t.
ita ITA 132 Damiano Cunego (Lampre - ISD) 00:00:57
fra FRA 133 David Moncoutié (Cofidis - Le Credit En Ligne) s.t.
esp ESP 134 David Lopez Garcia (Movistar Team) 00:00:58
fra FRA 135 Thomas Voeckler (Europcar) s.t.
ita ITA 136 Daniele Righi (Lampre - ISD) s.t.
esp ESP 137 David Arroyo Duran (Movistar Team) s.t.
ita ITA 138 Paolo Longho Borghini (Liquigas - Cannondale) 00:00:59
ita ITA 139 Matteo Bono (Lampre - ISD) 00:01:00
usa USA 140 Edward King (Liquigas - Cannondale) s.t.
ger GER 141 Marcel Kittel (1t4i) 00:01:01
lux LUX 142 Andy Schleck (RadioShack - Nissan) s.t.
fra FRA 143 Jimmy Engoulvent (Saur - Sojasun) s.t.
esp ESP 144 Xavier Florencio (Katusha Team) 00:01:02
ned NED 145 Tom Veelers (1t4i) 00:01:03
den DEN 146 Kasper Larsen Klostergaard (Team Saxo Bank) 00:01:04
ita ITA 147 Jacopo Guarnieri (Astana Pro Team) s.t.
aus AUS 148 Wesley Sulzberger (GreenEdge Cycling Team) s.t.
sui SUI 149 Danilo Wyss (BMC Racing Team) s.t.
fra FRA 150 Pierre Cazaux (Euskaltel - Euskadi) 00:01:05
esp ESP 151 Luis Angel Mate Mardones (Cofidis - Le Credit En Ligne) s.t.
ita ITA 152 Elia Viviani (Liquigas - Cannondale) s.t.
den DEN 153 Anders Lund (Team Saxo Bank) 00:01:06
fra FRA 154 Mickael Buffaz (Cofidis - Le Credit En Ligne) 00:01:07
den DEN 155 Lars Ytting Bak (Lotto - Belisol Team) s.t.
fra FRA 156 Anthony Ravard (Ag2R - La Mondiale) 00:01:08
fra FRA 157 Vincent Jerome (Europcar) 00:01:09
bel BEL 158 Maarten Neyens (Lotto - Belisol Team) s.t.
fra FRA 159 Romain Feillu (Vacansoleil - DCM Pro Cycling Team) 00:01:13
fra FRA 160 Rémy Di Gregorio (Cofidis - Le Credit En Ligne) 00:01:17
ned NED 161 Martijn Maaskant (Team Garmin - Barracuda) 00:01:18
fra FRA 162 Mickael Cherel (Ag2R - La Mondiale) s.t.
pol POL 163 Sylvester Szmyd (Liquigas - Cannondale) s.t.
ita ITA 164 Giampaolo Caruso (Katusha Team) 00:01:20
blr BLR 165 Yauheni Hutarovich (Equipe Cycliste FDJ - BigMat) 00:01:21
fra FRA 166 Jeremie Galland (Saur - Sojasun) 00:01:22
bel BEL 167 Olivier Kaisen (Lotto - Belisol Team) 00:01:23
fra FRA 168 Sébastien Chavanel (Europcar) 00:01:24
aus AUS 169 Matthew Lloyd (Lampre - ISD) 00:01:25
aus AUS 170 Matthew Wilson (GreenEdge Cycling Team) 00:01:28
esp ESP 171 Ricardo Garcia Ambroa (Euskaltel - Euskadi) 00:01:31
fra FRA 172 Tristan Valentin (Cofidis - Le Credit En Ligne) 00:01:32
ger GER 173 Grischa Niermann (Rabobank Cycling Team) 00:01:34
ned NED 174 Roy Curvers (1t4i) 00:01:55
fra FRA 175 Samuel Dumoulin (Cofidis - Le Credit En Ligne) 00:02:17
bel BEL 176 Nick Nuyens (Team Saxo Bank) 00:06:11

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