Yates attacks the finale and moves up to seventh overall after stage six Paris-NiceFri 9 Mar 2018
Last year's stage winner Simon Yates took his chances on winning stage six Paris-Nice today by attacking on the final climb and leading the race in the final 10kilometre run into Vence.
His attack came after a huge effort from the whole Mitchelton-SCOTT team who took control of the race on the lead in to the first category climb, the Côte de la Colle sur Loup.
After a brave attempt, the 25-year-old’s chances came to and end after he was joined by Tim Wellens (Lotto-Soudal) with around four kilometres to go and then caught by the small chasing group with just two and a half kilometres remaining.
Colombian climber Esteban Chaves, who was behind in the chase group was able to take eighth place on the stage as Rudy Molard (FDJ) jumped clear in the final moments to steal a solo victory.
Yates now moves up to seventh place overall after taking three intermediate bonus seconds, with Chaves now in ninth spot.
The day's breakaway
In the opening kilometres, six riders forced the first breakaway of the day before seven other riders successfully bridged across to make it 13 riders out front as they rode out to a two minute advantage after the first 50kilometre of the 198kilometre stage.
The group began to split up and continuously regroup over the numerous categorised climbs until there were only five riders remaining ahead with less than 35kilometres to go.
The Mitchelton-SCOTT train
As the peloton barrelled down the decent towards the final steep first category climb of the day with less than 25kilometres remaining, the whole Australian outfit headed to the front of the peloton and put in a huge effort to close down the leaders who hovered just 30seconds ahead.
After making the catch, the team continued to ride in an attempt to keep their three climbers, Yates, Chaves and Roman Kreuziger in a good position heading into the climb, ready for the explosion of attacks.
Yates makes his move
After claiming a stage win on stage six in last year’s edition of the race, Yates put himself in a perfect position to try and take another stage six victory, as he launched away from the whittled down main group with around one kilometre from the summit of the final steep climb.
Yates quickly opened up a gap and continued to increase his lead as he crested the climb and headed down the decent with less just eight kilometres remaining.
Eventually the Brit was joined by Wellens, but with a flat finish, it proved to be to no advantage and the pair were then quickly swallowed up by the chase group in the closing moments.
Simon Yates - 7th on the general classification
“We arrived at the start of the climb in really perfect position, the guys did a super awesome job on the descent there beforehand. I saved a lot of energy not having to fight to be there in good position and that definitely helped. From there onwards, I felt good. If I had legs like today everyday, I would win a lot more bike races. “
“A few attacks were going but no one was really getting any distance, I just saw a little gap there to go and try to get away. I tried, got a bit of a gap but it coming back and going and there was a lot of cat and mouse today. I grabbed some bonus seconds today which might not do much, but every little bit helps.”
Dave McPartland - Sport Director
“It was a super team effort. We know Simon and Esteban are in really good condition, and with good support from Roman. The plan was just to keep our leaders in good position but the guys really took the race by the horns down the descent. There was gaps behind and we just went on with it which put the guys in perfect position at the bottom. It just allowed us to race the way we wanted to race the climb with Esteban and Yatesy.”
“When Simon was away with Wellens I thought there was a good chance we were going for the stage win but it came back and we had Esteban sitting pretty there too if needed.”
“Every second counts, this race has been won by just a couple of seconds in recent years, so you never know the impact today’s bonuses can have. It’s still 45seconds to the lead, but 45seconds can be nothing when we go up the 15km climb tomorrow.”
Paris-Nice stage six results:
1. Rudy Molard (FDJ) 4:40:05
2. Tim Wellens (Lotto-Soudal) +0:02
3. Julian Alaphilippe (Quickstep-Floors) ST
8. Esteban Chaves (Mitchelton-SCOTT) ST
General classification after stage six:
1. Luis Leon Sanchez (Astana) 22:25:33
2. Julian Alaphilippe (Quickstep-Floors) +0:22
3. Marc Soler (Movistar) +0:26
7. Simon Yates (Mitchelton-SCOTT) +0:45
Photo courtesy of Getty Images