Paris-Nice #7: GC battle hots up heading into final stage

Simon Yates won Stage 7 of Paris-Nice and in doing so, ensured he will wear the yellow jersey tomorrow. Dylan Teuns (BMC Racing Team) placed second, followed by Ion Izagirre (Bahrain-Merida).

Stage 7 at Paris-Nice started from Nice and stretched to Valdeblore La Colmiane, covering 175km. With a summit finish on the cards, today was always going to be a battle for places on the general classification leader board. The 16,3km final climb peaked at gradients of 8% at some points. While the race is fondly called “The Race to the Sun”, it did not live up to that name today. The wet conditions made the roads very dangerous, and numerous crashes happened through the race.

As racing got underway, a breakaway of eight escaped 13km into racing, containing Rory Sutherland (UAE), Tony Gallopin (AG2R), Alessandro de Marchi (BMC), Nicolas Roche (BMC), Jarlinson Pantano (Trek-Segafredo), Thomas De Gendt (Lotto-Soudal), Amael Moinard (Fortuneo) and Jesus Herrada (Cofidis). They covered 36,2 km in the first hour of the stage. As racing in the day continued, the break consistently dropped riders, resulting in just Gallopin, Roche and Moinard reaching the final climb with a lead of just 35 seconds.

As predicted, the final climb provided for some explosive action. The climb fractured the peloton, and a group containing a selection of the GC favourites went on to catch the break. As the 16,3km climb was tackled, the group lost many riders. Simon Yates and Ion Izagirre managed to create a small advantage in the final km’s, after which Yates attacked and went on to clinch victory.

Ben King finished in a hard-fought 34th place for our African Team, as we look ahead to what promises to be a exciting last stage of Paris-Nice.

Bingen Fernanadez – Sport Director

We had been relatively fortunate with the weather up until today here at Paris-Nice. Today was always going to be a tough day, but yeah, the rain and cold made it particularly tough. From the start the pace was on and riders were getting dropped in the first 20km. With the wet descents it also made it hard for riders to come back, you could see by how many riders stopped today. Johann van Zyl had to stop at the feedzone today, he started Paris-Nice with a bit of illness so today was always going to be a big ask. Our other 5 fought hard today and we had Ben, Natnael and Serge in the main group just before the penultimate climb. Bahrain and Astana were really driving the race and it become s day of survival and our guys survived to make it to tomorrow’s final stage.