Paris Nice: Stage 6

Despite a crash the day before, Primoz Roglic made it clear who held the reins of Paris-Nice when he outclassed the peloton in an uphill sprint in Biot to snatch stage 6 and increase his lead

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Paris Nice: Stage 6

Primoz Roglic (Jumbo-Visma) made it clear who held the reins of Paris-Nice on Friday when he outclassed the peloton in an uphill sprint in Biot to snatch stage 6 and increase his lead ahead of the queen stage at the top of La Colmiane. The Slovenian surged clear in the last metres of the stage to overpower specialists of such finishes as Christophe Laporte (Cofidis) and Australian Michael Matthews (Bike Exchange).

In the overall standings, the two-times Vuelta winner leads title-holder Maximilian Schachmann (Bora-Hansgrohe) by 41 seconds and Ion Izagirre (Astan-Premier Tech) by 50 seconds. Third placed before the start of the stage, Brandon McNulty, crashed and is out of the race.

Fast start
The start proper was given to 147 riders and it wasn’t until 13 kilometres had passed under the wheels of the riders that the first attack took place when Rémi Cavagna (Deceuninck-Quick Step) and Matteo Trentin (UAE) broke clear. Several attempts to join them were quashed and the break was over after 33.5 km as the peloton was speeding along at nearly 48 kph and dropping several riders.

On the first climb of the day, Cote des Tuilieres (km 52) Anthony Perez (Cofidis) added five points to his KOM tally while a group of six emerged, composed of Perez, Victor Campenaerts (Qhubeka-Assos), Kenny Elissonde (Trek-Segafredo), Alexey Lutsenko (Astana), Jonathan Hivert (B&B Hotels) and Julien El Fares (EF Education-Nippo).

Perez added three more points to his KOM lead in Cote de Mont-Meaulx (km 67.4) as the lead of the six settled in at just under three minutes. As the race was nearing the main ascent of the day, Cote de Cabris, white jersey holder Brandon McNulty, third overall, crashed at the back of the peloton and was forced out of the race. At the top of Cote de Cabris, Perez added 10 points to his polka-dot jersey and five more at Col du Ferrier (km 112.9) to take his tally to 52 points. At that stage, the peloton was four minutes adrift. On the descent, with 60 km to go, Perez decided to relax, followed by Julien El Fares and the breakaway group was down to four riders.

Roglic’s Jumbo-Visma team maintained the gap under three minutes as Elissonde was 2:24 behind their leader at the start and could be a threat. Lutsenko punctured with 32 km to go as the bunch increased the pace behind the three remaining escapees. With 25 km left, Elissonde decided to go on his own on the Cote de Roquefort-les-Pins where the second bonus sprint was held.

But the chase, led by Cofidis and Deceuninck-Quick Step, gained momentum as the Frenchman was joined by Germany’s Jonas Rutsch (EF Education-Nippo) in the finale. The two maintained a 20-second lead for 10 km and the German kept going on his own until the red kite. The sprint was launched from afar by Frenchman Guillaume Martin (Cofidis), who led out team-mate Laporte into the final stretch. But the stronger man was Roglic, who pushed hard on his pedals to power his way to the line with a scream of jubilation.

Primoz Roglic: “To win like this is something new again and I’m glad I could do it. For sure, it was nice to see my family and get their support and to have the legs to win the stage today. It was just a full gas day, very hard from the beginning that’s why I’m also glad I won it. We’re all tired and it was beautiful that I could do it here. I have to deal with the change of courses and I don’t really care about it. For sure they will be two crucial stages like always at the end. I just expect full gas racing because they are quite short both of them so it will be pretty exciting. My focus is on myself, if I can stay focused with the whole team then it should be fine normally.

Aleksandr Vlasov: “It was a nervous day, very fast, we were already nervous but with the mechanical problem in the end it was very stressful but my team-mate gave me his bike and I was able to go to the finish line with it. I’m very happy to wear this jersey and I hope to keep it until the end. Of course we’ll try tomorrow and Sunday. They are two difficult stages but we will see what it is possible to do”.

Michael Matthews – 3rd: “We took control today; we knew it was a good stage for us and we tried to make it an easy of a sprint as we could. The boys did a great job but unfortunately, we came away with third. We gave it everything and tomorrow is another day. The next two days are pretty big climbing days, and we have Lucas Hamilton in great shape so we will support him 100% and see what he can do with the big boys on the final climb.”

Lucas Hamilton – 6th “It was a hard day, we rode a really good race, we rode all day for Bling (Micheal Matthews) and in the end it was a close one. It was maybe a little bit too hard, but it was a good day for us, and we showed how strong we are. Unfortunately we didn’t get the win today but there’s always another race around the corner and tomorrow I think is an uphill finish so we will see.”

Maximilian Schachmann: “It was a tough day and very hectic at the end. We tried to stay together and then ride at the front at the end, but I had to re-position myself too often. On the final climb I wasn’t able to find a good wheel to follow, and could have taken one of the corners a little better, so we weren’t able to do more today.”



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