Cycling: Klöden takes yellow ahead of crucial stage

Eleven years after winning Paris-Nice, the German Andreas Klöden proved yesterday he was still a force to be reckoned with when he won the hilly 193-kilometre fifth stage in the same race.

Klöden, 35, twice a Tour de France runner-up, has never totally fulfilled his promise and the win in the small village of Vernoux-en-Vivarais was a rare high in a up-and-down career of more than 14 seasons. Set up by RadioShack team-mate Janez Brajkovic, Klöden outsprinted Olympic champion Samuel Sanchez of Spain on the line to clinch his first major win in almost two years.

"I never thought I could beat Samuel Sanchez in a sprint, but thanks to Janez. He led the sprint very well," said the man who spent most of his early career in the shadow of compatriot Jan Ullrich before putting himself at the service of Lance Armstrong.

With most of his generation now retired, "Klödi" can have legitimate ambitions of further success during the remainder of the race, especially in Friday's 27-km individual time trial in Aix-en-Provence. The timed test could be an all-German affair as pre-race favourite Tony Martin, one of the best time trial specialists, finished fourth in the stage on the same time as his compatriot and trails him by only 10 seconds overall.

Klöden was among a group of eight riders who broke clear in the final descent from the gruelling Col de la Mure, nine kilometres from the finish line.

Among the riders dropped was the race leader at the start, Belgium's Thomas de Gendt, who crossed the line 15 minutes after the leading eight. France's Arthur Vichot crashed in a ravine as the pace was increasing in the final descent and broke his collarbone.

In the finale, Brajkovic launched the sprint with Klöden on his wheel, the German eventually surprising Sanchez and Italy's Matteo Carrara, who took third place. The same three lead the overall standings.

"For sure, we'll try to defend the yellow jersey but we'll see from day to day," Klöden added.

"Tomorrow is a hard time trial and also the last four days were very hard and nervous. I hope the legs stay like this and I can also do a good time trial."

Among the favourites in Friday's potentially decisive time trial are Britain's Bradley Wiggins, Australia's Mick Rogers and Klöden's American team-mate Levi Leipheimer, who all lie 29 seconds behind the German overall.

Have you tried new the Independent Digital Edition apps?
Arts and Entertainment
Written protest: Julia Donaldson, author of The Gruffalo, has sent an open letter to the Culture Secretary
books
Arts and Entertainment
The teaser trailer has provoked more questions than answers
filmBut what is Bond's 'secret' that Moneypenny is talking about?
Sport
Lewis Hamilton secured his second straight pole of the season
f1Vettel beats Rosberg into third after thunderstorm delays qualifying
News
Johnny Depp is perhaps best known for his role as Jack Sparrow in Pirates of the Caribbean
peopleBut how did he break it?
Sport
footballDoes Hodgson's England team have an identity yet?
Travel
travel Dreamland Margate, Britain’s oldest amusement park, is set to reopen
News
news
News
Founders James Brown and Tim Southwell with a mock-up of the first ever ‘Loaded’ magazine in 1994
media
Caption competition
Caption competition
  • Get to the point
Latest stories from i100
Daily Quiz
Independent Dating
and  

By clicking 'Search' you
are agreeing to our
Terms of Use.

Career Services
iJobs Job Widget
iJobs General

Ashdown Group: Practice Accountant - Bournemouth - £38,000

£32000 - £38000 per annum: Ashdown Group: A successful accountancy practice in...

SThree: Trainee Recruitment Consultant

£18000 - £23000 per annum + Uncapped commission: SThree: Does earning a 6 figu...

Recruitment Genius: SEO Executive

£18000 - £25000 per annum: Recruitment Genius: This is an exciting opportunity...

Recruitment Genius: New Lift Sales Executive - Lift and Elevators

£35000 - £40000 per annum: Recruitment Genius: A challenging opportunity for a...

Day In a Page

The saffron censorship that governs India: Why national pride and religious sentiment trump freedom of expression

The saffron censorship that governs India

Zareer Masani reveals why national pride and religious sentiment trump freedom of expression
Prince Charles' 'black spider' letters to be published 'within weeks'

Prince Charles' 'black spider' letters to be published 'within weeks'

Supreme Court rules Dominic Grieve's ministerial veto was invalid
Distressed Zayn Malik fans are cutting themselves - how did fandom get so dark?

How did fandom get so dark?

Grief over Zayn Malik's exit from One Direction seemed amusing until stories of mass 'cutting' emerged. Experts tell Gillian Orr the distress is real, and the girls need support
The galaxy collisions that shed light on unseen parallel Universe

The cosmic collisions that have shed light on unseen parallel Universe

Dark matter study gives scientists insight into mystery of space
The Swedes are adding a gender-neutral pronoun to their dictionary

Swedes introduce gender-neutral pronoun

Why, asks Simon Usborne, must English still struggle awkwardly with the likes of 's/he' and 'they'?
Disney's mega money-making formula: 'Human' remakes of cartoon classics are part of a lucrative, long-term creative plan

Disney's mega money-making formula

'Human' remakes of cartoon classics are part of a lucrative, long-term creative plan
Lobster has gone mainstream with supermarket bargains for £10 or less - but is it any good?

Lobster has gone mainstream

Anthea Gerrie, raised on meaty specimens from the waters around Maine, reveals how to cook up an affordable feast
Easter 2015: 14 best decorations

14 best Easter decorations

Get into the Easter spirit with our pick of accessories, ornaments and tableware
Paul Scholes column: Gareth Bale would be a perfect fit at Manchester United and could turn them into serious title contenders next season

Paul Scholes column

Gareth Bale would be a perfect fit at Manchester United and could turn them into serious title contenders next season
Inside the Kansas greenhouses where Monsanto is 'playing God' with the future of the planet

The future of GM

The greenhouses where Monsanto 'plays God' with the future of the planet
Britain's mild winters could be numbered: why global warming is leaving UK chillier

Britain's mild winters could be numbered

Gulf Stream is slowing down faster than ever, scientists say
Government gives £250,000 to Independent appeal

Government gives £250,000 to Independent appeal

Donation brings total raised by Homeless Veterans campaign to at least £1.25m
Oh dear, the most borrowed book at Bank of England library doesn't inspire confidence

The most borrowed book at Bank of England library? Oh dear

The book's fifth edition is used for Edexcel exams
Cowslips vs honeysuckle: The hunt for the UK’s favourite wildflower

Cowslips vs honeysuckle

It's the hunt for UK’s favourite wildflower
Child abuse scandal: Did a botched blackmail attempt by South African intelligence help Cyril Smith escape justice?

Did a botched blackmail attempt help Cyril Smith escape justice?

A fresh twist reveals the Liberal MP was targeted by the notorious South African intelligence agency Boss