Paris-Nice – Stage 3

Ivan Cortina outsprints Peter Sagan to win the 212.5-km third stage of Paris-Nice after a long, rainy and windy day between Chalette-sur-Loing and La Chatre on Tuesday.

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Paris-Nice – Stage 3

Ivan Cortina (Bahrain-McLaren) took a revenge of sorts when he won the 212.5-km third stage of Paris-Nice after a long, rainy and windy day between Chalette-sur-Loing and La Chatre on Tuesday. The 24-year-old Spaniard, who finished second behind Dylan Groenewegen in a bunch sprint in Bellegarde a year ago, raised his arms this time, even beating Peter Sagan (Bora-Hansgrohe) on the line as the Slovak was going for a repeat of his first stage win on the Race to the Sun, exactly ten years ago.

©A.S.O. / Fabien Boukla

Third place went to Italy’s Andrea Pasqualon (Circus-Wanty Gobert) while some of the strongest sprinters failed to defend their chances, especially Sam Bennett (Deceuninck-Quick Step), who crashed with 500 m to go, and Pascal Ackermann (Bora-Hansgrohe), who suffered a mechanical.

The real start was given at 11:23 to all 133 riders left in the race in cloudy, rainy conditions. At kilometre 4, Belgium’s Tom Devriendt (Circus Wanty Gobert) went on his own and the peloton did not budge. At the first intermediate sprint, the Belgian had a 3:20 lead over stage 2 winner Giacomo Nizzolo, who picked two points for the green jersey, and the rest of the peloton. Devriendt’s lead increased steadily and reached a maximum of 9:15 at kilometer 38. The pack, led by Bora-Hansgrohe riders, maintained a steady gap of around seven minutes until the first climb of the day.

On Cote de la Chapelotte (km 88), polka-dot jersey leader Jonathan Hivert collected two more points to bring his KOM tally to 22, while Jose Manuel Diaz (Nippo-Delko Provence) is now on seven. As the direction of the wind changed (km 131), the peloton split after an acceleration at the front of the bunch and some 20 riders found themselves trapped at the back, including green jersey Giacomo Nizzolo and polka-dot jersey Jonathan Hivert. While the bunch regrouped, Devriendt’s lead started to dwindle, especially as the Belgian was halted briefly by a level crossing at kilometer 140.

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Deceuninck-Quick Step, Team Sunweb and Bahrain-McLaren led the way for most of the finale, maintaining a steady pace which finally proved too high for Devriendt, reeled in with 25 km to go after spending182 km in the front. The second intermediate sprint in St. Aout, 19 km from the finish, went to world champion Mads Pedersen (Trek-Segafredo) ahead of Kasper Asgreen and Julian Alaphilippe (Deceuninck-Quick Step), who maintained a high tempo after the line, splitting the pack. The sprinters teams took turns to lead the pack, setting up the sprint finish. With 5 km to go, a crash in the peloton involved Bryan Coquard, who had just changed bikes with Cyril Gautier after a mechanical.

Germany’s Pascal Ackermann (Bora-Hasngrohe) also found himself out of contention for the sprint because of a mechanical 4 km from the line. The stage was set for the first bunch sprint of this edition and what a surprising one it was! As Bennett hit the canvas, Ivan Garcia Cortina boldly went for it, quickly overtaking Sagan to clinch his best victory to date after the stage he won in California last year. Germany’s Maximilian Schachmann (Bora-Hansgrohe) retained his overall lead ahead of stage 2 winner Giacomo Nizzolo (NTT Pro Cycling) and Jasper Stuyven (Trek-Segafredo)

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Ivan Cortina: “I am always happy to compete at Paris-Nice, and it’s really amazing for me to win the stage at such race as Paris-Nice. At the final, I managed to find my good place and position for the final sprint to go full gas. As everybody suffered in such hard conditions, I was waiting, as always to try and use such conditions like today and grab my chance. The character of the race was like the classics race, and I’m really happy before the upcoming classics ahead to take a victory. I am super happy with the performance of the whole team. I did a good job with Dylan at the front, and in the end, everything went really good, and I took my chance for the win”.

Peter Sagan: “Third stage and third day of racing in cold and rainy conditions. Although it was easier at the beginning, there was a lot of tension and nerves in the final kilometres. Most of the sprinters found themselves without many teammates in the final stretch, so it was more of an individual battle. Unfortunately, I was at the front quite early and I wasn’t able to keep the pace to the finish line but I took a strong second place. Max was also well protected and finished in the leading group, keeping the yellow jersey.”

Max Schachmann: “The race essentially had two parts. The first half was pretty relaxed, everything was under control and Juraj did a particularly good job there. Just before the final, it became very hectic, with the field splitting, and at the end of all of this, Peter finished second in the sprint. I was able to keep my lead in the overall standings, but tomorrow is the time trial, which will cause changes in the overall standings, but of course we will do our best there, and I’ll try to defend the jersey as long as I can.” –

Sam Bennett: One of the main favourites on what was going to be the first bunch sprint of this year’s Paris-Nice, Bennett was up there in the tense and aggressive finale, but an incident stopped him from fighting for the win. After the stage, Sam was examined by the Deceuninck – Quick-Step medical staff, and fortunately, it was soon revealed that he hadn’t sustained any fractures, just a gash in one of his right hand fingers, which required four stitches.

“I lost some skin and needed those stitches, because when I went into the barrier, I hit the metal part, but luckily, everything else seems pretty ok. In the beginning, as I was lying on the road and there was a bit of shock, as I had no idea how serious it was, but it’s a good thing nothing is broken. I will continue the race and start Wednesday’s individual time trial. I’m quite happy it will be a short stage tomorrow and I hope things will turn around for me at some point”, a confident Bennett said at the team hotel.

1. Iván Cortina Bahrain – McLaren
2. Peter Sagan BORA – hansgrohe
3. Andrea Pasqualon Circus – Wanty Gobert
4. Cees Bol Team Sunweb
5. Nacer Bouhanni Team Arkéa Samsic
6. Rudy Barbier Israel Start-Up Nation
7. Anthony Turgis Team Total Direct Energie
8. Giacomo Nizzolo NTT Pro Cycling
9. Mads Würtz Israel Start-Up Nation
10. Oliver Naesen AG2R La Mondiale

15. Connor Swift
87. Dan McLay

1. Max Schachmann BORA – hansgrohe
2. Nizzolo Giacomo NTT Pro Cycling @ 0:13
3. Jasper Stuyven Trek – Segafredo @0:24


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