Third for Trentin on the final day for the sprinters in Paris NiceFri 15 Mar 2019
European champion Matteo Trentin took third place on today’s final day for the sprinters in Paris-Nice after the hilly sixth stage concluded with a reduced bunch finish.
Mitchelton-SCOTT did a lot of work setting the tempo in the final 40kilometres of the stage in an attempt to drop some of the pure sprinters, however, in the end many race favourites where still present and Trentin took third place behind the eventual stage winner Sam Bennett (Bora-Hansgrohe).
A steady breakaway
In the first seven kilometres a group of four riders jumped clear of the bunch and opened up a lead of over one minute. Shortly after Lilian Calmejane (Direct Energie) sat up and returned to the bunch as Alex Kirsch (Trek-Segafredo), Laurent Pichon (Arkea Samsic) Mauro Finetto (Delko-Marseille-Provence) powered on ahead to form the day's breakaway.
Due to strong winds once again, the peloton split but with a long way to go the bunch return back together again and the trio increased their lead out to two minutes, which remained that way for most of the stage.
The race lights up in the final 40km
With just over 40kilometres to go, the gap to the trio quickly dropped and the catch was rapidly made, immediately after the peloton split into two group with the strong crosswinds once again causing havoc.
Mitchelton-SCOTT sent Esteban Chaves, Jack Haig, Jack Bauer and Mikel Nieve to the front of the bunch to drive the pace, keeping the two groups apart and make it hard for the sprinters to the advantage of Trentin. As they headed up the final climb, the eight kilometre Cote de Saint Philomene with just 23kilometres to go, the second group was distanced further and a selection was made.
The sprinters survive
Despite over 2000metres of climbing, strong winds, any multiple crashes on the run into the finish, many of the race’s sprinters fought on and survived to the finish line to contest the final sprint. Trentin was well positioned but in the final metres Bennett came fast from behind and launch past the Italian and Arnaud Demare (FDJ) to take the stage win.
Tomorrow the race heads to the mountains with a summit finish, for the first time in the race’s history, up the Col de Turini with Haig still in contention overall in eighth place at one minute 17seconds.
“It is hard not to win after the guys did so much in the last 40 or 50kilometres. They were super today, starting with Esteban and Mikel.
"We decided to ride the climb hard and make it a hard life for the sprinters and then at the end it was the downhill which proved to be the moment when everything split and then the other teams started to commit, but mostly it was us riding at the front.
“We had a headwind on the climb so it was it always hard to drop people, and then on the last climb it wasn’t hard enough and it was like five percent maximum, so those guys can still climb.
“It was a hard day but to be honest I was thinking it was going to be harder, I was thinking the climbs would be harder and this stage in general. The breakaway went almost right away and it was a hard day out there but not hard enough to drop the other pure sprinters.”
Paris-Nice Stage 6 Results:
1. Sam Bennett (Bora-Hansgrohe) 4:12:35
2. Arnaud Demare (Groupe FDJ) ST
3. Matteo Trentin (Mitchelton-SCOTT) ST
General Classification after Stage 6:
1. Michal Kwiatkowski (Team Sky) 21:35:36
2. Egan Bernal (Team Sky) +0:18
3. Luis Leon Sanchez (Astana Pro Team) +0:22
8. Jack Haig (Mitchelton-SCOTT) +1:17
Photos courtesy of Getty Images