Rebellin Wins Stage 2 of Paris-Nice; Leads Race
Davide Rebellin (Gerolsteiner) has taken Stage 2 of Paris-Nice.
Davide Rebellin (Gerolsteiner) has taken Stage 2 of Paris-Nice. The Italian outsprinted five breakaway companions to win the rolling 182.5-km ride from La Clayette to St. Etienne in 5:01:14. Defending champion Alexander Vinokourov (Telekom) finished second, and Alexander Botcharov (Ag2r) took third. Rebellin took the overall lead from Stuart O'Grady (Credit Agricole).
At 75 km, Christophe Oriol (Ag2r) attacked, and David Arroyo (ONCE) and Nicolas Jalabert (CSC) joined him. At 120 km, David Canada (Quick Step) bridged up to the trio. The quartet had a 3:00 lead on the peloton, which began to chase.
By the base of the day's final climb, the Category 1 Croix de Chabouret, the bunch led the break by 1:50. Behind the break, tragedy struck. Andrei Kivilev and Marek Rutkiewicz (both from Cofidis) and Volker Ordowski (Gerolsteiner) crashed. Kivilev sailed over his bike's handlebars and slammed into the pavement face first. According to Baden Cooke (La Francaise des Jeux.com), "When I went by him, he didn't look good. He wasn't moving at all, and that's never a good sign." Kivilev went into a coma immediately and died of a skull fracture before the start of Stage 3.
On the climb, Oriol attacked. The peloton reeled him in, and Botcharov counterattacked. A chase group formed that included Dario Frigo and Volodomir Gustov (both from Fassa Bortolo), Vinokourov, Rebellin, and Mikel Zarrabeitia (ONCE). The chase group overhauled Botcharov and led the field during the descent to the finish. The stage came down to a sprint, which Rebellin won.
In the overall, Rebellin leads Vinokourov by 0:01 and Frigo by 0:13. Stage 3 will be a 192.5-km, mostly downhill run from Le Puy-en-Velay to Pont du Gard. A sprinter should win it. Which one will it be? Petacchi? Zabel? Check in at http://www.roadcycling.com/ and find out!