Solid time trial from Yates moves him up overall in Paris-Nice

Wed 8 Mar 2017

Simon Yates had a solid time trial today on stage four of Paris-Nice to finish in 14th place and move up five places on the general classification.

The 14.5kilometre individual time trial concluded up a steep three kilometre climb in Mont Brouilly and was eventually won by the penultimate rider to start, Julian Alaphilippe (Quick-Step Floors), who subsequently moves into the overall race lead.

Yates’ performance catapulted him up the overall standing into 15th position, just two minutes 16seconds down on the leader, putting him in to a strong position going forward into the coming hillier stages.

“It is one of Simon’s first races that he is looking at the overall,”  said sport director Laurenzo Lapage. “I think there is still a lot of room for improvement but for the moment we are happy with were he is at, it is his first race of the season.”

With one more fairly flat stage tomorrow before the race heads into the hills, Lapage has a confident outlook for the team heading into the second part of the race with stages more suited to their strengths.

“Tomorrow will be the last day that can suit 90% of the bunch so I expect it will be a really nervous day with the breakaway and we will try to be there.” continued Lapage.

“The front riders overall are all very close to each other and I think they may give Simon more of a chance. He is two minutes behind at the moment so has more room to go into breaks and try something on the uphill finishes.”

“We have to look at this but I think the front guys will be really watching each other.”

How it happened:

After enjoying a fairly dry stage yesterday, the riders faced rainy wet weather once again at the start in Beaujeu.

The stage caused a mix up in the general classification with a punishing three kilometre climb up to the finish line in Mont Brouilly, averaging out at 7.7%.

Nikias Arndt (Sunweb) was the first rider to set the bench mark early on on with a time of 22minutes 50seconds, holding the hot seat for a period of time before David De La Cruz (Quick-step floor) blasted around the course 26seconds faster.

Yates, the final rider down the ramp for ORICA-SCOTT passed the first intermediate check point at 11.3kilometres with a time of 14minutes 23seconds for fourth position.

De la Cruz remained in the hot seat until Contador charged up the final climb to stop the clock under 22minutes with a time of 21minutes 58seconds. However, the time was finally beaten by Alaphilippe who shaved a further 19seconds off the time to take the stage victory. 

Michael Albasini was the next highest place finisher for ORICA-SCOTT with a time of 23minutes 40seconds.

Tomorrow the stages heads to lumpier terrain with a 199.5kilometre day including two categorised climbs.

Paris-Nice stage four results:
1. Julian Alaphilippe (Quick-Step Floors) 21:39
2. Alberto Contador (Trek-Segafredo) +0:19
3. Tony Gallopin (Lotto-Soudal) +0:20
14. Simon Yates (ORICA-SCOTT) +1:04

General classification after stage four:
1. Julian Alaphilippe (Quick-Step Floors)12:36:27
2.  Tony Gallopin (Lotto-Soudal) +0:33
3.  Gorka Izaguirre (Movistar) +0:47
15. Simon Yates (ORICA-SCOTT) +2:16

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