2011 in Review: Paris-Nice Stage 5

It’s a rare early season race where the top names are all on form enough to battle en masse at the finish. On the fifth stage of the 2011 Paris-Nice, it happened. The real favorites with a chance all were there at the end of a long, rolling day across the low mountains. The final climb of the day broke up the race completely, leaving only an elite group to contest the win as the race descended to the valley floor. Tony Martin, Rein Tarramae, Samuel Sanchez, Janez Brajkovich, Andreas Kloden and the late Xavier Tondo were all there at the end. The two RadioShack riders made the most of their slight numerical advantage, but with so much power in the final selection, the finish was always in doubt. After a short attack from Luis Leon Sanchez, the group of favorites hit  the finishing straight. Twig-like climber Janez Brajkovich hit the front in a weird lead-out for Andreas Kloden, who himself was many years past his sprinting prime. He had enough to hold off Sammy Sanchez on the like, which obviously excited Jani, who can be seen fist-pumping 100 meters from the line.

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