The breakaway prevails & Trentin settles for eighth despite a hard chase from MTS in Paris-Nice

Wed 13 Mar 2019

Today’s lengthy fourth stage in Paris-Nice saw riders from an early breakaway survive all the way to the finish line to take the top placing for the day, despite a big effort from Mitchelton-SCOTT thoughout the stage.

The Australian outfit shouldered a lot of the workload, chasing the breakaway back over the final categorised climbs, however, with 30km to go Luka Mezgec, Jack Bauer and Mikel Nieve took a corner too wide and lost their placing in the bunch which left the team down on numbers to continue the chase.

Four riders from the breakaway made it to the finish line ahead of the reduced bunch with Magnus Cort (Astana Pro Team) taking the stage win and Matteo Trentin sprinting in to end the day in eighth place.

The gentle chase

The day began with 13 riders jumping away from the peloton and with a long way to go, after 50kilometres, the group hovered around a stable advantage of five and a half minutes.

The leader’s advantage increased to over six minutes before the peloton picked up the pace and brought the group back within striking distance as they head up the the third categorised climb of the day, the Cote de Condrieu. It was Bauer initially pulling at the head of the bunch which saw the gap drop down to two minutes.

A unfortunate corner

Everything looked under control and the scene was set for the breakaway to return and a reduced bunch sprint at the finish, but a unfortunately the chasing Mitchelton-SCOTT riders overshot a wide corner, which saw Nieve take a tumble, and the riders were left behind and having to chase back on.

In front, Simon Yates, Esteban Chaves and Jack Haig were the only riders left to do the chasing but with the breakaway still sitting over one minute ahead. Bahrain-Merida were the only other team really contributing to the chase and consecuently the gap continued to stay the same. Eventually the breakaway shrunk to just four riders but they continued to fight on and were able to out-do the chasers and contest the stage.

Trentin now moves up to fifth place at 14seconds and Haig in 19th place at 19seconds with a 25km individual time trial tomorrow before harder mountainous stages to follow.

Jack Haig

“The whole team worked super hard today and we had a little mishap on one of the descents and lost some guys. They were doing a lot of the chasing and then overshot the corner so then we lost a lot of men. Then from that point it was only Simon and Chaves chasing and then we lost both of them before the final KOM. After that I tried to take over and bring the break back but they just continued to stay around 40seconds ahead.

“It was frustrating to work so hard all day and get so close in the end. I think if we had more men there or if another team had committed more then we would have been ok. 

“The break was so close but nobody was really committing, I think probably the peloton is just tired, those first two days were really hard and then yesterday was just long so I think people are just really pinned.”

Paris-Nice - Stage 4 Results:

1. Magnus Cort (Astana Pro Team) 5:03:49
2. Thomas De Gendt (Lotto-Soudal) +0:07
3. Giulio Ciccone (Trek-Segafredo)  +0:13
8. Matteo Trentin (Mitchelton-SCOTT) ST

Paris-Nice - General Classification after Stage 4:

1. Michal Kwiatkowski (Team Sky) 16:52:27
2. Luis Leon Sanchez (Astana Pro Team) +0:05
3. Philippe Gilbert (Deceuninck-Quickstep) +0:10
5. Matteo Trentin (Mitchelton-SCOTT) +0:14

Photos courtesy of Getty Images