Quieter Day for ORICA-GreenEDGE at Paris-Nice

Sat 9 Mar 2013

After Michael Albasini’s thrilling victory yesterday, it was a quieter day for ORICA-GreenEDGE at Paris-Nice. Simon Clarke was best-placed for the team on the stage five summit finish, leading home five riders 7:12 behind stage winner and new race leader Richie Porte (SKY).   

“It was a simple day,” said Sport Director Laurenzo Lapage. “Nothing special happened for the team. Our first goal was to make the breakaway of the day, but that didn’t work for us.”

Instead, Cyril Lemoine (Sojasun), Thierry Hupond (Argos-Shimano), Paolo Longo Borghini (Cannondale) and Jens Voigt (RadioShack) featured into the day’s escape. The four riders fought for mountain classification points, opened up a maximum advantage of 5:25 and staved off the Garmin-led peloton until La Montagne de Lure. The category one summit finish came on the heels of six previous categorised climbs.

“Our second objective today had been to bring Alba [Michael Albasini] into a good position leading up the last climb,” noted Lapage. “He wanted to attempt to stay with the first group. At the start of the stage today, he was in 24th place, only one minute behind the race leader. He thought if he could maintain contact with the group there was a chance he could move up on the overall.”

Although Albasini was a prominent figure at the front of the bunch in the build-up to the summit finish, he lost contact with the peloton on the lower slopes of the final climb.

“He said he felt that he was missing the legs he needed to stay up there,” Lapage explained. “He went to the finish at his own speed.”

Simon Gerrans was a non-starter today due to health issues.

“Simon has had some breathing issues this week,” explained Lapage. “We knew the weather today wouldn’t be great, and we didn’t want to risk making it worse.”

The penultimate stage, the final Paris-Nice road stage, looks ripe for a breakaway.

“There’s a good chance the break will make it to the finish tomorrow,” said Lapage. “If we can get in a move with Alba or Clarkey [Simon Clarke], that would be great.”