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Paris-Nice Stage 3: Sagan Bursts Through but Voigt Takes GC

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Peter Sagan of Liquigas won a thrilling shortened stage in the Paris-Nice today. Cut down to 155km  due to snow at St Junien, the course nevertheless contained three cat-2 and one cat-3 climb, which let Saur-Sojasun’s Laurent Mangel extend his King of the Mountains classification lead.

Caisse d’Epargne generally led the peloton once again, though the pack let a small breakaway lead until just before the final climb. This was always going to be decisive, being only 3 downhill kilometres from the stage finish in Aurillac.

Nicholas Roche (AG2R) jumped off the front halfway up, but only succeeded in taking former  world junior mountain biking champion Peter Sagan with him. Joaquin Rodriguez and Alberto Contador then flew away from the pack, too, and, just over the top, Tony Martin and powerhouse Jens Voigt also established themselves in the leading pack.

In this exalted company, Roche was always going to have to turn himself inside out to produce a result, and it’s no discredit to him that he didn’t take the stage, instead coming in third behind Sagan and Rodriguez. A stage win will surely come his way soon.

Unhappiest man in the peloton tonight? Roman Kreuziger, who has been outridden – and now leapfrogged in the GC – by his younger team-mate, whom he’ll now have to pull for. Happiest? Maybe Peter Sagan, with his first Pro Tour stage win, but I’d go for big Jens, who will now ride in yellow tomorrow from Aurillac to Rodèz. Bye bye Boom!

Standings after stage 3:

1. Jens Voigt (SAX)

2. Peter Sagan (LIQ)

3. Luis Leon Sanchez (GCE)

4. David Millar (GAR)

5. Roman Kreuziger (LIQ)

6. Alberto Contador (AST)

7. Levi Leipheimer (RSH)

8. Joaquin Rodriguez (KAT)

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Rushed Behind
14 years ago

Paris-Nice this year is showcasing some great racing, from the pack split in stage 1’s cross winds to the classics style finish of stage 3. Peter Sagan is only 20, the youngest man in the race. He will be scary good once he gets a few more years in his legs. Not sure if he can manage the more serious climbs to come this year though.

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