We’re well into the 2012 Paris-Nice, so perhaps there is no better time to compare this year’s route to the roads of fond yesteryear. The roads from Paris to Nice are constantly undulating and never dull, and perhaps no stage last year was as advantageous in composition than Stage 4. Thomas Voeckler, the hero of France since his improbable turn in the yellow jersey while holding off a certain Texan for a week in July, lived up to his attacking style on this stage last year. Wearing the blue, white and red of French champion and riding in the breakaway, the combined efforts of Leopard-TREK, Rabobank and Cofidis weren’t enough to reel in the Frenchman. Even a late surge from Garmin 6km from the finish failed to reel in the four man break, which included fellow French Dude Remy DiGregorio from Astana.
The race is even more exciting in French, as the commentators openly root for Voeckler and the break to stay away just a half a minute ahead of the charging peloton, which was riding hard enough to push the maillot jaune to the back of the peloton and split most of the group over the roads in the final kilometers.