Team Jayco AlUla power to third place in tight Paris-Nice team time trial

Team Jayco AlUla powered to an impressive third place in the stage three team time trial at Paris-Nice after an agonising and nail-biting wait in the hot seat.

The Australian outfit were amongst the early teams out on the course, and they stormed around the 32.2km lap in Dampierre-en-Burly in a time of 33:39 to move to the top of the provisional standings.

The new unique TTT format meant that the times would be taken from the first rider across the line instead of the usual fourth, with Simon Yates and Michael Matthews racing across the line together to stop the clock.

It was then a case of sitting tight and watching the remaining team’s efforts as challenger after challenger edged closer, but failed to beat the time of Team Jayco AlUla. Eventually Team Jumbo-Visma did take over at the top, with a late charge from EF Education-EasyPost enough to grab second place.

Despite narrowly missing out on the victory, the team walks away happy with their performance with Kell O’Brien moving into the white jersey and three riders in the top 10 with Matthews up to third, Yates sixth and O’Brien ninth overall as the race heads into the mountains tomorrow.

Simon Yates:

“We just tried to keep it smooth, keep the pace regular and to do that we had all of the ‘fast guys’ all in a row and I was just a passenger, I tried to do what I could but those guys are doing one minute, one minute and a half pulls and I’m doing 20 seconds, so chapeau to the boys. Hopefully this sets us up for the next stages.

We’re really happy with our setup now, I think that has shown not just last year, but already straight into this year. In Tirreno as well, Hepburn did a good TT there as well, so hopefully this partnership with Giant continues for a long time.”

Kell O’Brien:

“We gave 100% today, we knew we had a good chance, had a great team and we left it all out there on the road, I guess we just have to find four seconds somewhere.

The white jersey was never the goal coming here, my job is to do a good job for Michael and for Simon this week. I’m really proud of the boys, it was a great ride, it’s bittersweet to be so close yet so far.

It’s an honour to wear the jersey, like I said, it wasn’t the goal, but it’s a special reward today I guess after such a hard effort. The win would have been nice, but we’ll be out there in full force tomorrow.”

Marco Pinotti (Performance Director):

“I’m very satisfied by the performance of the team, I think with what we have we did the best that we could do. It came down to four seconds to Jumbo-Visma, who are among the favourites.

There is a bittersweet feeling at the end because it was really close, but I think it would have been harder for us to do better. I only wish that we could have started a bit later, to race in the same conditions, but that’s cycling and how it is.

Congratulations to the winners, I think we are getting closer and closer. I’m very happy with the team performance, both staff and riders and we’re bringing our best game to the team time trial events.”

2023 Paris-Nice Stage 3 TTT – Results:

  1. Team Jumbo Visma 33:55
  2. EF Education-EasyPost 33:56
  3. Team Jayco AlUla 33:59

Photo: Sprint Cycling