In His Own Words: Sport Director Laurenzo Lapage on Paris-Nice Stage 3Thu 7 Mar 2013
It was a cold and wet day of racing in France. The relatively straightforward stage turned threatening over a second category climb that split the peloton into five distinct groups. In his own words, Sport Director Laurenzo Lapage describes the day.
A lot of riders suffered today in the cold. Most of our riders dealt with the weather reasonably well. Simon Gerrans struggled a bit. No matter how he dressed, he was unable to get warm.
The stage was dominated by an early four rider breakaway. The quartet led over the two of three categorised climbs before the chase began in earnest in the lead up to the third climb. The second category Cote de Mauvagnat summitted 15 kilometres from the stage finish.
As expected, the peloton split over the final ascent. We had hoped to come over this climb with Alba [Michael Albasini], [Michael] Matthews and [Leigh] Howard. I was pleased when Alba made the first group, and Matthews and Howard were in the second group just 100 metres behind.
The descent was more dangerous than we anticipated, and the wet roads increased the danger further as the peloton flew towards the finish. The first group on the road split, and a seven rider move eventually formed up the road. Albasini was part of what became the second chase group. Howard managed to maintain contact with the third group on the road.
Andrew Talansky (Garmin-Sharp) won the seven-up sprint and moved into the yellow jersey. Albasini was our top finisher, 1:05 back in 36th place.
Tomorrow’s stage seems well-suited to a breakaway. We’ll look to send someone in the day’s break in case the peloton allows the move to stay away until the finish.