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Impressive solo victory for Simon Yates on stage six Paris-Nice

Fri 10 Mar 2017

Vuelta a España stage winner Simon Yates attacked with 18kilometres to go on today’s stage six in Paris-Nice to claim an impressive solo victory.

The 24-year-old launched a well-timed attack two kilometres from the crest of the penultimate climb and successfully held on to his lead to take the first victory of the race for ORICA-SCOTT.

Despite only being his second race of the 2017 season, Yates confidently and courageously rode away from the reduced group of elite climbers on the steep slopes of the Col de Bourigaille.

"I was still quite far down in the general classification before today so I had some freedom,” explained Yates at the finish. “I expected some guys to come with me and work together for the finish but I found myself on my own.”

“I was just full gas to the finish, I gave everything I had.

"There's still a lot of time to take away from Julian Alaphillipe (Quick-Step Floors) but he's such a phenomenal rider. He's one of the best riders of our generation.”

With the stage victory today, Yates jumps up in the general classification to eighth place, one minute 37seconds a drift, but with two hard stages still to come he expressed his motivation to continue for a good placing overall. 

“I’ll try again but there's a long way to go,” Yates continued. “Today I told myself that if I want to feature in the overall, I have to take some time somewhere.”

“There are still a few difficult days still to come and I can try. La Couillole looks very difficult, I don't know this climb but I saw the profile. There are still a lot of guys down in the GC so I expect a tough race."

With today’s stage a target for the team, sport director Laurenzo Lapage was overjoyed with the victory and acknowledged Yates’ courageous attack at the perfect tactical moment.

“Simon started the climb in a really good position,” said Lapage. “The guys did their homework to put him there in the best position at the bottom.”

“It was the perfect place for him to attack as it was all downhill from there except for 1.5kilometres at the end.

"He was with all the main climbers and a lot of them were also on their own so they could not fully commit to the chase.

“Because it was downhill he was able to take more time and start the last climb in a good place. He took 50seconds on the descent but he was also on his limit at that moment and finished just 17seconds ahead so that says enough.

"A really impressive victory.”

How it happened:

The stage started with a tough first hour of racing with many riders attacking in an attempt to establish an early breakaway as the peloton split significantly over the first climb of the day.

Nobody was given any freedom to break free and it was after approximately 50kilometres of racing that a breakaway formed at the head of the race.

Eight riders worked together and rode out to a maximum advantage of four minutes as the broken peloton behind all regrouped.

Yates remained in good position throughout the day and after 140kilometres of racing the riders began to ascend the Col de Bourigaille for the first time, swallowing up six of the breakaway riders, leaving only two riders, Eduardo Sepulveda (Fortenou) and Alessandro de Marchi (BMC) out front.

Team Sky set the initial pace at the front of the reduced bunch on the final ascent of the 8.1kilometre category one climb and the catch was finally made.

With the front of the race all back together Yates showed his climbing class with a powerful attack and quickly rode away, constantly increasing his advantage.

On the steep decent his lead continued to grow out to 50seconds as he began the final climb to the summit finish in Fayence, a 1.3kilometre ascent with a 9.8% average gradient.

The group behind closed in but it wasn’t enough to stop Yates who stole the show and took the stage victory.

Paris-Nice stage six results:
1. Simon Yates (ORICA-SCOTT) 4:37:51
2. Sergio Henao (Team Sky) 0:17
3. Richie Porte (BMC Racing Team) 0:26

General classification after six:
1. Julian Alaphilippe (Quick-Step Floors) 21:58:22
2. Tony Gallopin (Lotto-Soudal) +0:36
3. Sergio Henao (Team Sky) +0:46
8. Simon Yates (ORICA-SCOTT) +1:37

Photos courtesy of ©TDWsport.com

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