Paris-Nice #3: Hivert takes the win, Natu places 13th

Jonathan Hivert (Direct Energie) won stage 3, going solo in the final straight to pick up the win. Luis Sanchez (Astana) will wear the yellow jersey tomorrow, after his third place. For Team Dimension Data, Jay Thomson featured in the first break of the day, while Natnael Berhane took a strong 13th for us.

Stage 3 of Paris- Nice rolled out from Bourges this morning, heading to the finish point of Châtel-Guyon. The 210km stage, making it the longest of this year’s race, consisted of three 3rd category climbs.

Once racing got underway, within the first km’s, Jay Thomson from our African team made it into the break of the day. He was joined by Fabien Grellier (Direct Energie) and Przemyslaw Kasperkiewicz (Delko Marseille Provence). Our strong South African picked up maximum points in the first sprint, Le Brethon, and he bagged a few King of the Mountains points too.

Grellier left the duo of Thomson and Kasperkiewicz, ensuring he picked maximum KOM points on the second climb. Thomson and Kasperkiewicz returned to the peloton 43km before the finish. Grellier managed to stay in front for another 10km, before the break reeled him in as well.

The final climb of the day saw multiple attacks, and a small group of riders managed to leave the peloton. Within the reduced group, there were numerous breakaway attempts, with nothing sticking for more than a few kms. With 12km to go, Rémy Di Gregorio (Delko Marseille Provence KTM), Jonathan Hivert (Direct Energie) and Luis Sanchez (Astana) built a lead over a select group of chasers. The peloton caught the chasers with 7km to go but not the leading the trio.

The winner of the day, Hivert (Direct Energie), would come from the breakaway group of three. Rémy Di Gregorio (Delko Marseille Provence KTM) and Luis Sanchez (Astana) finished second and third respectively. The remainder of the top ten was determined by a bunch sprint. Natnael crossed the line in a strong 13th for our African team, after starting the final climb in a less than ideal position. He moves into 31st place in the GC, as we look towards tomorrow’s individual time trial.

Natnael Berhane- Rider
“Today I didn’t feel good, that was one thing I missed, so when I hit the last climb, I was very far away. I passed a lot of riders… I was in the second group (peloton), and we managed to catch the first (chasing) group. I heard in the radio that there were three riders in the breakaway, and then after we did the final sprint, I think I was just outside the top 10. But after the finish, I felt really good. I was just disappointed that when I started the climb I was very far away. I lost too much energy to get back to the front. Now I have to look forward, and if I ride a good time trial, I can look to the GC.