Hard racing before Mende finish
08 March 2012

Paris-Nice (st. 4)

No overall changes after a difficult stage where Valverde kept the front before tomorrow's mountain-top finish. Bad fortune in Tirreno-Adriatico opener

After his victory yesterday, Alejandro Valverde and Movistar Team were still on the fight during stage four of Paris-Nice, a 178km trek around the Massif Central which saw the riders spending energy before a complicated finish in Rodez, with a final 3k uphill. The telephone squad took control of the bunch during the final ten kilometers, especially with Iván Gutiérrez and José Joaquín Rojas as David Arroyo suffered a crash with 20k from the finish that left him out of contention, but with no physical consequences. Valverde came in good position into the final kilometer, but the turns at the finish ruled the Spaniard out as Belgian Gianni Meersman (LBL) notched up the finish.

Valverde, still on the green points’ jersey, sits now in 7th -with Rojas in 8th- before the first real shake on the GC tomorrow on another hilltop finish. 178 kilometers starting at Onet-le-Château and going through Aujols (Cat. 1), right from the gun, La Maléne (Cat. 1), Cayla (Cat. 3), L’Estrade (Cat. 1) and Chabrits (Cat. 2) before the traditional Côte de La Croix-Neuve (Cat. 1) in Mende, 3 km / 10’1% average.

Unlucky at starting TTT in Tirreno-Adriático

In turn, the 47th Tirreno-Adriatico also kicked off on Wednesday, with its seven-day route bringing World Tour action into Italy as Movistar Team ran out of luck during stage one. The Blue team saw a mechanical by Giovanni Visconti at the first kilometer of the team time trial from San Vincenzo to Donoratico, which forced his teammates to await for the Italian champion and finish at the bottom of the leaderboard at the end of the 16.9km course, with eight from eight Movistar Team riders together except for Pablo Lastras dropping halfway the course. The squad directed by José Luis Jaimerena will aim at the finish tomorrow into the first road stage in the Corsa dei Due Mari, with a marathon 230k to Indicatore near Arezzo.