Paris-Nice: Third time lucky for Sylvain Chavanel on stage 6


Sylvain Chavanel (Quickstep) displayed determined sprinting power to beat World champion Philippe Gilbert (BMC) on the line and claim his third stage victory in Paris-Nice on Saturday.

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2013 ParisNice stage 6-Chavanel arrival

Sylvain Chavanel (Quickstep). Photo: OPQS/Tim de Waele

Already a winner in Cannes (2008 ) and Vichy (2009), the Frenchman caught the Belgian favorite off his guard to give France its third victory in this edition. Spanish sprinter Jose Joaquin Rojas was third.

Richie Porte, safely assisted by his Sky team-mates, retained the overall lead with a 32 seconds gap over Andrew Talansky (GRS) while Chavanel shot to third, 41 seconds adrift. Porte is now 9.6 kms away from becoming the first Australian to win the Race to the Sun on a climb he know like the palm of his hand.

Eleven in the lead
The start was given at 11:32 to 163 riders. Francis de Greef (LTB) and Alexis Vuillermoz (SOJ) did not start. Egor Silin (AST) attacked in the first climb of the day, Cote du Bois de Rousset (km 6.5) and was quickly joined by fellow-Russian Eduard Vorganov (KAT).

The two were later joined by seven, then nine riders, forming a group of eleven escapees, who were Simon Clarke (OGE) Egor Silin (AST), Gatis Smukulis (KAT), Eduard Vorganov (KAT), Brent Bookwalter (BMC), Arnold Jeannesson (FDJ), Julien El Fares (SOJ), Borut Bozic (AST), Jerome Pineau (OPQ), Romain Bardet (ALM) and polka-dot jersey holder Johann Tschopp (IAM). While Andreas Klier (BMC) called it quits, the gap regularly increased to settle at around three minutes.

Tschopp secures polka-dot jersey
Tschopp did not miss his chance to collect some points along the way on Cote des Tuilieres (Km 87.5). At the feeding zone (Km 91), several riders decided it was time to end their Paris-Nice — Robert Gesink (BLA), Thomas De Gendt (VCD), winner in Nice a year ago and Yoann Offredo (FDJ) returned to their hotels.

In the first category Cote de Cabris, Smukulis and El Fares were dropped by his breakaway companions. Tschopp added ten points to his tally in the 1st category Cote de Cabris. In the following Col du Ferrier, Bookwalter, Pineau and Bozic also lost ground while Tschopp secured a polka-dot jersey he could now take all the way up Col d’Eze.

Break over
In the descent of Col du Ferrier, only six men were left in the lading group: Tschopp, Jeannesson, Silin, Clarke, Bardet and Vorganov. But their lead quickly melted as BMC and Team Sky riders sped frantically in the descent towards Tourrettes-sur-Loup. Silin was dropped first and the break ended at kilometre 181. The second sprint in Tourrettes-sur-Loup saw Sylvain Chavanel and Peter Velits (both OPQ) try to move with Andriy Grivko (AST), but they were quickly reined in by Team Sky.

Vasili Kiryienka and David Lopez Garcia took control of the bunch, Richie Porte on their heels, for most of the finale, with Andrew Talansky and Lieuwe Westra close by. In the finale, Philippe Gilbert looked ideally placed to grab the laurels when he was perfectly led out by his BMC team-mates but he probably launched the sprint too far and was outpoured on the line by Chavanel.

2013 ParisNice stage 6-Chavanel podium

Sylvain Chavanel (Quickstep). Photo: OPQS/Tim de Waele

“I am super happy,” exclaimed Chavanel after his win. “It’s the second time I won here in Nice, after my victory in 2008. It’s always a great emotion to raise the arms here. Today I decided to do the sprint because I was looking for some points for the Green Jersey. There was a head wind in the final, so I asked Kevin De Weert to stay near me. He did a great job and he left me in the perfect position on the wheel of Gilbert and Dumoulin. With the bonification fixation I took, I’m now 3rd. Tomorrow will be difficult for me, but I will try to do my best to stay in the top 10.”

“Today is a special day for the team,” Chavanel continued. “Kwiatkowski the new leader at Tirreno is great news. I’m happy for him and the team, and I hope he can keep the jersey as long as he can.”

World Champion, Philippe Gilbert (BMC) explained afterwards “Dominik Nerz and Daniel Oss did a very big job, but we were missing one guy in the finale, so I did a very long sprint – about 300 meters,” Gilbert said. “To hold this effort is not easy. It’s a big disappointment because losing by that close is never good.”

Directeur Sportif John Lelangue said the BMC Racing Team put forth its best effort to organize a lead-out train for the straight, flat run-in. “Attacking at one kilometer out made no sense because it was too far away and with a tailwind,” he said. “The sprint was pretty well done. We’re not a sprinters team, but we gave everything and Philippe give everything he had.”

“We have no regrets.” Van Garderden said it will be a tough task to make up the 52 seconds he is behind Porte on the race against the clock up the Col d’Èze. “The podium is still within reach, but to bring back a minute on Porte in only a 20-minute effort, especially with the way he’s riding – is not possible,” van Garderen said. “All I can do is my best. I’ll go out there and focus on myself. If it turns out to be a victory, that would be great.”

1 CHAVANEL Sylvain Omega Pharma – Quick-Step 5:14:23
2 GILBERT Philippe BMC Racing Team
3 ROJAS GIL Jose Joaquin Movistar Team
4 DUMOULIN Samuel AG2R La Mondiale
5 GALLOPIN Tony RadioShack – Leopard
6 SIMON Julien Sojasun
7 BOZIC Borut Astana Pro Team
8 HAUSSLER Heinrich IAM Cycling
9 HIVERT Jonathan Sojasun
10 LOSADA ALGUACIL Alberto Katusha Team

21 PORTE Richie Sky Procycling ,,
22 TALANSKY Andrew Garmin – Sharp

1 PORTE Richie Sky Procycling 29:40:31
2 TALANSKY Andrew Garmin – Sharp 0:32
3 CHAVANEL Sylvain Omega Pharma – Quick-Step 0:42
4 WESTRA Lieuwe Vacansoleil – DCM ,,
5 PERAUD Jean-christophe AG2R La Mondiale 0:49
6 VAN GARDEREN Tejay BMC Racing Team 0:52
7 VELITS Peter Omega Pharma – Quick-Step 0:53
8 SPILAK Simon Katusha Team ,,
9 ULISSI Diego Lampre – Merida 0:54
10 GRIVKO Andriy Astana Pro Team 1:06


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