Trentin takes eighth on stage three Paris-Nice as Kreuziger moves into seventh overallTue 6 Mar 2018
Today’s stage three Paris-Nice saw a general classification shake-up after a dangerous move of three riders formed on the final climb of the day survived until the finish line.
The team’s trio of climbers, Roman Kreuziger, Esteban Chaves and Simon Yates finished within the chase group but at a 38seconds loss on the new race leader and general classification rival, Luis Leon Sanchez (Astana Pro Team).
After a late re-grouping of the chasing bunch, Matteo Trentin sprinted to eighth place, the highest finisher for Mitchelton-SCOTT on the stage, with Kreuziger moving up to seventh overall at 41seconds after gaining two intermediate bonus seconds.
Unlike yesterday’s stage where a breakaway didn’t establish until the final 30kilometres of the stage, today three riders, Jay Robert Thomas (Dimension-Data), Przemyslaw Kasperkiewicz (Delko-Marseille) and Fabien Grellier (Direct-Energie) were able to establish a break within the first 10kilometres.
The trio gained a maximum advantage of seven and a half minutes before the peloton lifted the pace and began to draw them in. With 60kilometres to go, Fabien Grellier (Direct-Energie) rode away from the other two breakaway riders and led the race solo, but it was soon all over for the trio, as the peloton made the catch ahead of the final category three climb of the day.
Fireworks on the final climb
The main action came with 25kilometres to go when Julian Alaphilippe (Quickstep-Floors) launched the first attack on the Cote de Charbonnieres which split the bunch. Chaves and Kreuziger were able to follow into a front group of twenty five riders, however they missed the winning move of Remy di Gregorio (Delko-Marseille), Luis Leon Sanchez (Astana Pro Team) and Jonathan Hivert (Direct-Energie) who caught everyone off guard and rode away to take the top three stage placings.
Time loss on the overall classification
The chasing group swelled as they approached the finish line with Yates and Trentin re-joining the front, but it was too late to close down the three leaders and the bunch crossed the line 38seconds adrift.
Going into tomorrow’s time trial stage, the main general classification riders now sit over 40seconds behind Sanchez, a dangerous margin ahead of the hillier stages to come.
Simon Yates - 27th overall at 43seconds
“The day was pretty steady until towards the end and the guys looked after me really well and I was always protected. There were a few exposed sections, nothing to dangerous and we arrived in good position before the final climb.”
“I just didn’t have great legs today and I was dropped probably 20metres behind the front big group and I just couldn’t make it back. I was in the second main group with all the sprinters."
“The other two were looking good ahead, Chaves and Kreuziger, so we will see how the time trial goes tomorrow but it was a pretty big gap in the end behind those three who stayed away to the finish.”
Roman Kreuziger - 7th overall at 41seconds
“It was a really high pace on the final climb, I spoke a few times with Esteban and I understood that Trentin was quite far behind so we kept going to close things, which we did before the sprint at the top of the climb, but after that we didn’t follow the attacks."
"That was a big mistake to leave Sanchez ahead. It is a pity he gained such a big advantage ahead of the time trial as he can gain some more time tomorrow.”
“We have to still keep focussed now because Esteban and myself were going well on the climb today so we still have a chance to be in the top five.”
Paris-Nice stage three results:
1. Jonathan Hivert (Direct-Energie) 5:22:49
2. Luis Leon Sanchez (Astana Pro Team) ST
3. Remy di Gregorio (Delko-Marseille) ST
8. Matteo Trentin (Mitchelton-SCOTT) +0:38
General classification after stage three:
1. Luis Leon Sanchez (Astana Pro Team) 13:21:55
2. Arnaud Demare (FDJ) +0:29
3. Gorka Izagirree (Bahrain-Merida) +0:36
7. Roman Kreuziger (Mitchelton-SCOTT) +0:41
Photo courtesy of Getty Images