Boom takes fine Paris-Nice opener, Contador-RadioShack battle continues
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Sunday, March 7, 2010

Boom takes fine Paris-Nice opener, Contador-RadioShack battle continues

by Bjorn Haake at 10:57 AM EST   comments
Categories: Pro Cycling, Race Reports and Results, Paris-Nice

Lars Boom posted the quickest time on the opening eight-kilometer time trial in Paris-Nice. With 10'56, he was only one of two riders under 11 minutes and beat Jens Voigt, the 2005 prologue winner (10'59). Levi Leipheimer finished in third, equal on time with Alberto Contador (11'02). Defending champion Luis León Sánchez ended the day in eighth, with 11'09.

Boom was a bit surprised about his victory. "I expected a good result, but I didn't expect to keep the best time all the way until the end of the day. To find myself ahead of riders like Alberto Contador and Luis León Sánchez, that's incredible," Boom said at the finish.

Boom blasted out of the start house onto the road that turned uphill immediately. After only 1.5km, the category three Côte de la Boursouffle had to be conquered, with the fastest rider receiving the polka-dot jersey for best climber. That turned out to be Boom as well, who was at the top after two minutes and 27 seconds.

But Boom was the only one to keep it up. Alejandro Valverde, who was only one second slower at the intermediate timing, ended the race in 31st, 29 seconds down.

"I gave it all I could to receive such a result," Boom explained. "This parcours was made for me, with the little ascent at the beginning and then a section for the rouleurs until the end."

He didn't want to say it was his best ever win in his career. "I already took a stage in the Vuelta, and that stays the biggest moment in my career for now."

Boom doesn't want to surrender the lead without a fight as the peloton heads south to the sea. "Now I want to try everything to keep this yellow jersey for a few days, but I think there'll be a moment where it will be too tough to stay with the best."

Happy losers

Sánchez couldn't repeat his win from the Algarve time trial. "Today there were a few riders who were better than I," the Spaniard said. He was still happy with his top ten ranking. "The route was tougher than we thought. I was going very steady and the longer the race went on, the better I felt, especially in the last two kilometers."

Sánchez suffered from the cold temperatures at the start. "The most important is that I felt good. The fact that we don't have to defend a jersey is not bad." The Caisse d'Epargne rider was looking forward to the hillier stages. "I am very motivated and we will await the mountain stages with a lot of confidence."

Contador, who targets the overall, was not bothered without the win. "I am really pleased with my performance. It took me a while to get into my rhythm, and that is where the time trial was decided." Contador was also happy that his team is not forced to control the race too early. "There are other racers who are going strong, but it was also important to gain time on guys like [Sylvain] Chavanel, [Frank] Schleck or [Alejandro] Valverde".

A hard begin for a time trial

The first rider to start and finish the prologue was Roy Curvers (Skil Shimano), who posted a 13'02. This was certainly no winning time, even if the category three Côte de la Boursouffle made things harder for the riders after 1.5km.

The youngest rider in the field, Peter Sagan of Liquigas, smashed Curvers' time by two almost minutes. In the cold temperatures of three degrees centigrade, cyclocross and time trial specialist Lars Boom went one better and posted a 10'56. It turned out to be the winner.

Americans Tom Danielson and Chris Horner clocked in at 11'23 and 11'16, respectively. Christian Vande Velde on the other hand went a bit slower, at 11'37. Xavier Tondo had a fast 11'07, giving him sixth place in the end.

Results prologue

1. Lars Boom (Rabobank) 10'56
2. Jens Voigt (Team Saxo Bank) 00'03
3. Levi Leipheimer (Team RadioShack) 00'06
4. Alberto Contador (Astana) 00'06
5. Peter Sagan (Liquigas-Doimo) 00'10
6. Xavier Tondo (Cervelo Test Team) 00'10
7. David Millar (Garmin - Transitions) 00'11
8. Luis-Leon Sanchez (Caisse d'Epargne) 00'12
9. Roman Kreuziger (Liquigas-Doimo) 00'13
10. Samuel Sanchez (Euskaltel - Euskadi) 00'15
11. Janez Brajkovic (Team RadioShack) 00'16
12. Andriy Grivko (Astana) 00'16
13. Laurent Mangel (Saur-Sojasun) 00'17
14. Rémi Pauriol (Cofidis Le Credit En Ligne) 00'19
15. Geraint Thomas (Team Sky) 00'20
16. Christopher Horner (Team RadioShack) 00'20
17. Svein Tuft (Garmin - Transitions) 00'20
18. Richie Porte (Team Saxo Bank) 00'22
19. Joaquim Rodriguez (Katusha Team) 00'22
20. Jean-Christophe Peraud (Omega Pharma - Lotto 00'23



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