Paris-Nice: Stage 7

Primoz Roglic attacks his way to his third win in four days at La Colmiane, catching out Gino Mader who was the final rider in the day’s breakaway to be caught

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Paris-Nice: Stage 7

Primoz Roglic attacks his way to his third win in four days at La Colmiane, catching out Gino Mader who was the final rider in the day’s breakaway to be caught

Whilst the day’s breakaway shed riders on the final climb, leaving Gino Mader on his own out front, the GC group too was getting ever smaller and at one stage, there was only Roglic and last years winner Maximilian Schachmann a few seconds clear of their rivals before they were caught in sight of the line. Roglic still had something left in his legs and he made a final attack, gapping his closest rival Schachmann and catching Gino Mader in the final 50 metres before sprinting to victory.

His third stage win in this years race strengthened his overall lead with one day to go in the Race to the Sun.

The start of the stage saw 139 riders racing into the mountains from the word go and on the Cote de Gilette, a group of thirteen riders emerged, comprising Neilson Powless (EF-Nippo), Andrey Amador and Laurens De Plus (Ineos Grenadiers), Alexey Lutsenko (Astana), Anthony Perez (Codidis), Julien Bernard and Kenny Elissonde (Trek-Segafredo), Thomas De Gendt (Lotto-Soudal), David de la Cruz (UAE), Sam Bennett and Mattia Cataneo (Deceuninck-Quick-Step), Dylan Teuns and Gino Mader (Bahrain). Polka-dot jersey holder Anthony Perez was first at the top of the climb, adding five points to his KOM tally.

Mads Pedersen (Trek-Segafredo) chased on his own behind the break until the descent of Col de la Sigale when he gave up and waited for the bunch. Perez took five more points on Col de la Sigale (Km 34.4) as the break led the peloton by 1:45. At that stage, the Frenchman had already secured the polka-dot jersey but he was still first again at the top of Cote de St Antonin (km 47) when the gap reached 2:30. With Cataneo lying 2:01 behind Roglic on the GC, the peloton raised the pace on the long flat section leading to the final ascent.

Sam Bennett led the break relentlessly and also won the first sprint of the day in Tournefort (Km 88) as the gap settled at 1:15 until the bottom of the climb to La Colmiane. As the road went up, Powless, Bernard, Elissonde, Lutsenko, Cattaneo, De la Cruz and Mader dropped their former companions. The whittling down of the riders out front continued and Powless, Mader and Elissonde were the last escapees standing with 10 km left on the stage.

Three kilometres further up the road, Mader and Powless were alone to battle it out but the young Swiss was the stronger of the day and he went solo five kilometres from the line. It seemed as if he would go all the way, especially as Roglic seemed to relax after having reeled in an attack by Schachmann under the red flame, but the Slovenian mercilessly surged in the last 200 metres to cross the line in first place and become the first rider since Tom Boonen in 2006 to win three stages in the Race to the Sun.


Primoz Roglic: “I always want to win”, Roglic said. “I saw an opportunity and I took it. It was a short, but tough stage. In the end it was very tight, but luckily I managed to take the win. The team controlled the stage well and luckily I was able to finish it off for them. Paris-Nice is a great race and I would like to add it to my palmares. But we are not there yet. I expect the necessary attacks tomorrow and we have to stay sharp and focused to bring the victory home.”

Anthony Perez (KoM leader): “I wanted to go for the first KOM, I joined the fight and then once in the front I didn’t want to let them go so I went for the others. I didn’t actually want to go to the front but Julien Bernard was up there, if he had not be I wouldn’t have done it. That’s the way it went. Guilllaume Martin finished 7th today, we’re doing nice things with the team. Tomorrow my job will be to look after Guillaume for the GC and after Christophe Laporte for the sprint.”

Lucas Hamilton (BikeExchange): “It was a really solid day, the boys did and awesome job. Roglic is just too good really, the guy from breakaway almost won. I tried to stay with Roglic the first time he attacked and I managed, but the second attack in the final metres I missed the moment and couldn’t really chase him back. I’m happy with the result today and have moved up a place overall but of course you always want more.”

Alexey Lutsenko (Astana): “We had a plan to have someone in the break, so from the start I was up there and as soon as I saw attacks I did my best to follow them. Finally, I managed to go away in a good group. I felt quite well and on the final climb I tried to accelerate to make a selection in our group. It worked out pretty well and finally we went away with just four riders. But in a moment I got cramps and I had to slow down a bit to recover from it. Then I tried to restart and to come back to the front, but it was too late. I am not at my top form yet, but I am on the right way. Day by day and race by race I am improving, so I hope to be ready for my biggest goals of the season”

Aleksandr Vlasov (Astana): “In general, I am happy with the way I rode today and the fact I protected my white jersey. It was a hard and fast day in the mountains, so we had to do our best to stay in front and to fight for a good position. We started the last climb at a really high speed and later with around five to six kilometres to the top, the pace of the group increased even more. I can’t say this kind of fast climb suits me well, but I had great support from my team and I could stay in front, protected well by my teammates. In the end, I just gave my best. I was trying to follow Roglic, but it was too fast for me. However, I managed to stay close and to finish not so far from him. So, now I am in the white jersey and in third position in the GC. Tomorrow there is another tough day in the mountains so we still have to keep concentrating and keep on fighting to finish this race in a good way”

Tiesj Benoot (DSM): “The guys kept me and Jai safe today and pulled the pace in the peloton at good moments,” explained Benoot after the finale. “There was a narrow road before the final climb and we were positioned perfectly by the guys which meant we saved a lot of energy which was good. Then on the final climb itself Jumbo set a very high pace. After the attacks I struggled to get my rhythm and just went all out to the line, but fifth place out of the GC guys is not bad. I had hoped for more, but to be honest I felt good today and we’ll take that positive feeling into the coming races.”


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