Race report

Cees Bol 4th in tricky uphill sprint at Paris-Nice

Paris-Nice

Today saw the riders take on the longest stage of the race, with a predominantly flat 216 kilometre long route from Chalette-sur-Loing to La Châtre on the menu. It would be an even longer day in the saddle than initially expected with a fierce headwind causing the race to run well behind the slowest predicted schedule.

After a couple of short-lived attacks one lone breakaway rider, Devriendt, was able to escape the peloton and he quickly amassed a large lead of almost ten minutes. Some nervousness in the bunch on exposed sections caused the gap to yo-yo as the pace increased and decreased throughout the afternoon. The bunch slowly reeled him in throughout the afternoon as the kilometres ticked by and the team rode well to be at the fore for any dangerous sections, riding together as one unit at the front of the peloton.

Devriendt was eventually caught with just over 25 kilometres to go and attention in the bunch turned towards the finale. The nervousness continued as the fight for position became more intense but despite a few attempts, there were no large splits in the bunch as the race entered the final ten kilometres.

The final section of exposed road came within the final five kilometres of the day and the team came to the front en masse to stay safe. The wind wasn’t strong enough to cause any major damage so a reduced bunch headed towards the sprint finish. In the finale, Michael Matthews worked well as last lead out man to bring Cees Bol into a good position, before Bol himself delivered a good turn of speed to take fourth place on the stage.

“We showed some great teamwork today and despite how hectic it was, we were always well positioned when there was the chance of echelons,” explained Bol at the finish. “In the final we had to freestyle and follow instinct which led to Michael bringing me into a good position. I was in the wind a bit too much and lost some momentum, so it was not perfect but it’s good to feel that we are racing strongly as a group and close to a big result.”

Team Sunweb coach Matt Winston added: “I think it was a really good performance by the guys today. We rode as a real block at the front and protected each other from the potential crosswinds all day, that didn’t really materialise in the end. We kept finding each other well and holding each other in position, and fighting for each other which was really good to see. Then at the finish the guys tried to bring Cees into the front as best as possible and he finished off with fourth place, in a photo finish for third. All in all, I think everyone is pretty satisfied as we head to the time trial tomorrow.”

Results

Pos. Rider Team Time Points
1 GARCÍA CORTINA Iván Bahrain - McLaren 5:49:55 60
2 SAGAN Peter BORA - hansgrohe ,, 25
3 PASQUALON Andrea Circus - Wanty Gobert ,, 10
4 BOL Cees Team Sunweb ,, -
19 BENOOT Tiesj Team Sunweb 0:03 -
27 KRAGH ANDERSEN Søren Team Sunweb ,, -
33 MATTHEWS Michael Team Sunweb ,, -
44 ARNDT Nikias Team Sunweb ,, -
49 DENZ Nico Team Sunweb ,, -
53 EEKHOFF Nils Team Sunweb ,, -
100 HAMILTON Chris Team Sunweb 5:50 -