Mattan Draws First Blood at Paris-Nice
Nico Mattan (Cofidis) has taken the early lead at Paris-Nice. The Belgian rode powerfully to win the 4.8-km prologue at Issy-les-Moulineaux in 5:47. Tyler Hamilton (CSC) finished second at 0:02, and Philippe Gaumont (Cofidis) snared third at 0:05.
Emmanuel Magnien (La Francaise des Jeux.com) set the early standard. The Frenchman completed the course in 5:56. Magnien remained in the lead for only ten minutes, as Thor Hushovd (Credit Agricole) banged out a 5:55. Hushovd's teammate Stuart O'Grady bettered the Norwegian's time with a 5:52.39, but Gaumont pipped O'Grady with a 5:52.31. Hamilton followed with a 5:49.95, which set up Mattan's heroics.
In the overall, Mattan leads Hamilton by 0:02 and Gaumont by 0:05. Tomorrow's Stage 1 could produce a lead change. The rolling, 191-km ride from Auxerre to Paray le Monial has bonus sprints and should end in a cavalry charge. Who will win? Danilo Hondo? Alessandro Petacchi? Robbie McEwen? Check in at http://www.roadcycling.com/ and find out!