Report – Thomas Second to Porte in Paris-Nice


Geraint Thomas attacks clear of the GC Contenders only to be joined by teammate Richie Porte who wins the stage, Kwiatkowski leads overall

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Report – Thomas Second to Porte in Paris-Nice

ASO Press Release
Team Sky were the arch-favourites at the start of this 73rd Paris-Nice and they amply delivered in stage 4 with an impressive one-two at the top of the climb to Croix de Chaubouret on Thursday. Richie Porte, the 2013 winner, won the first major stage of this edition with team-mate Geraint Thomas on his heels, confirming the claim by the British team that they had two cards to play in the Race to the Sun.


Yet their brave effort in the finale of the longest stage in this edition (204 km) were not quite enough to seize the overall lead as prologue winner Michal Kiwatkowski hung on to take third place and claim the yellow jersey back, leading Porte by the slimmest margin. Thomas is now third, a further two seconds behind.

“That was a great performance from the team,” said a delighted Porte after the stage. “We took it on from the bottom of that last climb – it wasn’t easy on there, so to finish first and second is fantastic. We’ve got two more hard days coming up now and then a time trial on the Col d’Eze. I love that climb and I’d love to have a good ride there. I think I can, but as I said, there’s two very hard stages coming before it. I’m in a good position though, and having such a strong team here will definitely help”.

“With Geraint and I up there on the general classification now, it’s good to have two cards to play. The dream is to hold the yellow jersey on Sunday evening. I love this race and I’d love to win it again. It’s not over until it’s over, and we’ll have to see how the next three days go.”


Thomas on the attack.

Three men moved on the gun: Thomas De Gendt (LTS), Antoine Duchesne (EUC), quickly joined by Chris Anker Sorensen (TCS). The peloton were happy to see them go and their lead increased steadily to reach 8:15 at Km 23. De Gendt made his intentions clear by sweeping the points on the first seven ascents of the day to dislodge Philippe Gilbert from the top of the mountain classification. Duchesne was dropped on the 2nd cat. Cote de la Gimond (km 152).

On the descent, AG2R seized their chance to shake off the peloton and raised the tempo, dropping several big names like Bradley Wiggins (SKY), Thomas Voeckler (EUC) and several sprinters like Alexander Kristoff (KAT), Andre Greipel (LTS) or Nace Bouhanni (FDJ). The most serious contender trapped at the back was Poland’s Rafal Majka (TCS) who suffered a front wheel problem at the worst possible time and had to change bikes twice.

De Gendt and Sorensen were caught with 13 kms to go as BMC riders took the reins. At the very start of the final climb, France’s Warren Barguil (TGA) crashed as Astana and Team Sky took the reins. The British outfit steadily increased the pace, sorting out the leading contenders. While Majka and Bob Jungels (TFR) were among the first to lose ground, yellow jersey holder Michael Matthews (OGE) faltered with six kilometres to go.


Tony Martin (EQS) and Tom-Jelte Slagter (TCG) were done two kilometres further down the road. Once Lars-Petter Nordhaug and Nicholas Roche had finished their team work, Geraint Thomas decided to part company with the rest of the pack three kilometres from the finish line.

He was joined by Denmark’s Jakob Fuglsang (AST) and Slovenia’s Simon Spilak (KAT). The leading favorites slowly bridged the gap and on the junction, beyound the red kite, Richie Porte struck back, taking Thomas with him. This last blow was too much to take for most of the other contenders, except Michal Kwiatkowski. American Tejay Van Garderen is now 27 seconds adrift in fourth overall and Jakob Fuglsang 32 seconds off the pace in fifth.


“For the first time in competition on a mountain stage I felt good, and wanted to try to stay in the select group and fight for the GC,” Kwiatkowski (above) said. “When Thomas went I was waiting for a reaction from Porte. When he first went in order to catch the three ahead, I was with him. When he accelerated one last time to go over the top I tried to stay with him, but I couldn’t really follow”.

“Porte and Thomas were both strong today, but at the same time I think I had a strong performance. I finished 3rd, only 8 seconds down, and I am so happy to have regained the yellow jersey after this difficult finish. As for the next stages, tomorrow will not be as tough as today, but for sure the stage on Saturday will be another demanding day. I will do my best to defend my race leadership with the support of my teammates, who also did a good job taking care of me today going into the last climb.”


1. Richie Porte (Aus) Team Sky 5:18:39
2. Geraint Thomas (GBr) Team Sky
3. Michal Kwiatkowski (Pol) Etixx – Quick-Step 0:00:08
4. Jakob Fuglsang (Den) Astana Pro Team
5. Tejay Van Garderen (USA) BMC Racing Team 0:00:17
6. Rui Costa (Por) Lampre-Merida 0:00:24
7. Tony Gallopin (Fra) Lotto Soudal
8. Fabio Aru (Ita) Astana Pro Team
9. Rafael Valls Ferri (Spa) Lampre-Merida
10. Simon Spilak (Slo) Team Katusha

39. Simon Yates (GBr) Orica GreenEdge 0:03:03
65. Ben Swift (GBr) Team Sky 0:10:12
105. Jack Bauer (NZl) Cannondale-Garmin Pro Cycling Team 0:21:58
109. Michael Valgren Andersen (Den) Tinkoff-Saxo
110. Luke Rowe (GBr) Team Sky 0:23:25
143. Bradley Wiggins (GBr) Team Sky
153. Daniel Mclay (GBr) Bretagne-Séché Environnement 0:25:03

1. Michal Kwiatkowski, Etixx – Quick-Step 19:44:11
2. Richie Porte, Team Sky @01
3. Geraint Thomas, Team Sky @:03
4. Tejay Van Garderen, BMC Racing Team @0:27
5. Jakob Fuglsang, Astana Pro Team @:32

42. Simon Yates, Orica GreenEdge @03:40

1 Michael Matthews, Orica GreenEdge 29 pts
2 Alexander Kristoff, Team Katusha 27
3 Michal Kwiatkowski, Etixx – Quick-Step 24

1. Thomas De Gendt, Lotto Soudal 36 pts
2. Philippe Gilbert, BMC Racing Team 21
3. Chris Anker Sörensen, Tinkoff-Saxo 19
4. Richie Porte, Team Sky 10
5. Geraint Thomas, Team Sky 8

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