After 8 electrifying days of competition and 1,307km of gruelling peddling the opening leg of the European UCI World Tour has drawn to a close with the 69th edition of Paris-Nice now over. And what an event of (quite literal) ups and downs it has been: Day Two saw New Zealander Greg Henderson (Team Sky) sprint to victory across the 199km stage from Montfort l’Amaury to Amilly whilst Tony Martin of HTC-Highroad smashed through day 6’s 27km time-trial to lead with two stages remaining.
But the most dramatic racing was saved for today where the race really failed to live up to its more common name, “Race to the Sun”, as riders battled horrendous weather on the final 124km loop out and back from Nice which had riders testing themselves to the limits on climbs up the Côte de Duranus, the Col du Chateauneuf and Col de Calaïson, before the long final rain-soaked straight. French champion Thomas Voeckler of Europcar was first man home on the day (3h15’58”) but there was no denting Martin’s overall lead as he became only the third German ever to win Paris-Nice with a time of 34h03’37”. Radioshack’s Andreas Kloden took second (+00’36”) with a third place for Britain’s Bradley Wiggins (Team Sky, +00’41”).