Sam Oomen raced to 5th place on a tough sixth stage of Paris-Nice, a rolling 198km stage finishing in Vence. Thanks to his strong performance on this GC stage, Sam climbs into 16 on GC.
The stage got off to a fast start with a break of 13 riders eventually pulling clear. This was soon to drop to 12 as the race settled into its rhythm. The team was down to just four after Chris Hamilton did not start the day following sickness.
As the climbs started, with five classified ascents to tackle, the front group thinned to eventually just five riders before the junction was made with 22km to race. From here the speed continued to ramp up ahead of the tough final climb just inside of 10km to go. The 1.8km ascent set the scene for the finale with a lead group of around 15 riders forming, including Sam. From here it was a tough, attacking finale from which one rider pulled clear to take a solo victory just a few seconds ahead of the sprint for second.
Team Sunweb coach Morten Bennekou told us: “As we were down to just four riders we decided to stay around Sam the whole day aiming to place him in the top 15 going in to the very explosive last ramp and then see what he could do. This planned out pretty well, with Mike and Roy doing an incredible job there. In the climb a group of 15 riders, including Sam, went clear. Today was a day and a performance that gives us confidence ahead of tomorrow’s queen stage.”
Sam added: “It was a very hard and fast day with a very tough final. I got really good support from the guys today and felt better than the first three days. I got a bit lucky in the last 2km that we closed the gap but I’m happy with this result.”