Paris-Nice #3: Sbaragli sprints to 9th place

Team Dimension Data for Qhubeka was one of the animating forces on Tuesday’s stage 3 of Paris-Nice. Ben King was part of the early breakaway, while Kristian Sbaragli took up the fight with the best sprinters and made Top10.

After two very chaotic days, where the peloton has split up into several groups within the first kilometers, the riders could finally enjoy a relatively easy start today. King took advantage of the situation and decided to attack right from the beginning of the stage. Together with two other riders, our 27-year-old American quickly established a significant gap to the peloton. However, as a strong tailwind accompanied the riders on the final part of the stage, the teams of the sprinters didn’t want to take any chances with the breakaway in fear of not being able to catch them before the finishing line. With 50 km left to go, the gap had already come down to under three minutes.

On the last categorized climb of the day, King had to let go when his breakaway companion Pierre Latour (Ag2r) accelerated. The French climber was later joined by Romain Combaud (Delko Marseille) and the duo managed to give the chasing peloton a good run for their money. It was only as the riders took on the last kilometer that it all came back together.

Team Dimension Data for Qhubeka did well to set up Sbaragli for the sprint with Youcef Reguigui bringing his Italian teammate in a good position. Sbaragli felt good but he ended up being boxed in and was never able to launch his sprint. However, he still managed to make Top10 against some of the best sprinters in the world. Sam Bennett (Bora-Hansgrohe) took the win, while Arnaud Démare (FDJ) kept the leader’s jersey for another day.

Kristian Sbaragli – Rider:
The sprint was really chaotic today. Youcef [Reguigui] put me in a good position and I wanted to start my sprint early from the right side of the road. Unfortunately, I didn’t find any space so I had to touch my breaks and slow down. I think podium was possible today, but sometimes these things happen. Now, I’ll turn my focus to Thursday’s stage where I hope to get another opportunity”.

On a sad note, Reinardt Janse van Rensburg unfortunately had to abandon Paris-Nice after a crash with 30 km to go. Our South African champion will now undergo further examinations to determine his injuries.