After his victory in the time trial of an already forgotten Tour de San Luis, Xavi Tondo showed again his great preparation for the beginning of the season with a fine performance in his first real objective of the season: Paris-Nice.
The Catalan from Movistar Team shone during the Queen stage on French soil, featuring the awaited ascent to the Col de la Mûre (Cat. 1) just 11km from the finishing line. Tondo, always into the first positions of the leading field alongside teammates Sergio Pardilla and Luis Pasamontes, jumped from the selected group of favourites just under a kilometers from the summit. The move by Tondo and Rein Taaramäe (COF) broke the race into pieces and left him on front under the KOM banner with seven other riders –Taaramäe himself, Tony Martin, Carrara, Klöden, Kiserlovski, Brajkovic and Samuel Sánchez- that ended up playing for the day’s victory, with Klöden (RSH) outsprinting the rest of the group.
Tondo, 8th in the stage, has jumped into the 7th slot overall, even though the general classification will surely see a major breakout on Friday, as the 27km individual time trial to Aix-en-Provence will clear the final outcome prior to the two mid-mountain stage in the weekend. The other major protagonist from Movistar Team on the day was David López: the Basque rider jumped with five other riders in the climb to the Col de la Croix de Chaubouret (Cat. 1), in the 50th kilometer, and kept himself for more than 100km into the lead, showing great condition. The other race of the day for Movistar Team, the second stage of Tirreno-Adriatico in Italy, was a calm ride for the squad led by José Luis Jaimerena, after the mass sprint took Farrar (GRM) into the blue jersey while Fran Ventoso (14th) was boxed into the finishing straight after looking for good positioning in the closing kilometers.