Yates climbs to fourth place on Paris-Nice Queen stage as Haig moves up to 5th on GCSat 16 Mar 2019
Vuelta a España champion Simon Yates took fourth place on today’s Queen stage of Paris-Nice after spending the day in a large breakaway, which formed in the early stages, before attacking multiple times on the final Col de Turini climb.
Yates put in a few big efforts of the final steep slopes, reducing the front of the race to just four riders, but the Brit was unable to shake off the competition and eventually took fourth place with Daniel Martinez (EF Edcuation First) jumping ahead in the final moments for the stage win.
Australian Jack Haig displayed great climbing form, arriving to the finish line with many of the race favourites to move up to fifth place with just one stage remaining.
A large group escapes early
After 40kilometres of racing and one categorised climb, 31 riders jumped away from the peloton with only two teams not present in the move, race leaders Team Sky and Team Sunweb.
Yates and Mikel Nieve were represented for Mitchelton-SCOTT and shorty after eight more riders successfully bridged across to make a large lead group as the race continued up and over the third climb of the day, with an advantage of over three minutes.
With no general classification contenders present, the group was able to stay away all the way until the finish to contest the stage, at one point gaining an advantage of over six minutes.
The group reduces on the final climbs
Gradually the group began to shrink over the following two climbs and Nieve set the tempo up the penultimate climb and subsequently as the leaders began the final climb, the Col de Turini, the front of the race was down to just 15 riders.
Pawel Poljanski (Borah-Hansgrohe) was the first to attack but was quickly brought back and shortly after with nine kilometres of climbing remaining, Yates launched his first move. Close on his wheel were three riders Miguel Lopez (Astana), Sergio Henao (UAE), Martinez and Nicolas Edet (Cofidis).
The final battle
The four leaders continued to attack one another right up until the final moments. Yates launched a third move with just two kilometres remaining but it wasn’t enough to get rid of the others with Martinez and Lopez launching away inside one kilometres to go to take the top two places.
Behind was the battle for the GC contenders with Haig fighting hard to stay in contention and in the wheels. He successfully remained with the main GC contenders, crossing the line in 15th place to moving up to fifth overall.
“I felt ok today, the other two (Martinez and Lopez) were bluffing but they were better on the day. I’m disappointed because I thought I had a good chance to win but it’s one of those things, it’s a hard day always around here."
“It looks quite hard tomorrow but I think I can take quite a lot of confidence from today. It’s probably the best climbing performance I’ve had, being able to climb with Nairo Quintana (Movistar) and Egan Bernal (Team Sky), two of the world’s best climbers. So now I just need to try and rest and recover going into tomorrow.
“After Simon dropped out of the general classification I set a realistic goal for myself of finishing top ten and an ideal goal of finishing top five. So at the moment we are looking good for the ideal goal, so if I can have a similar performance tomorrow then we should be pretty good.”
Paris-Nice Stage 7 Results:
1. Daniel Martínez (EF Education First)
2. Miguel López (Astana Pro Team) 4:55:49
3.Nicolás Edet (Cofidis Solutions Credit) +0:06
4. Simon Yates (Mitchelton-SCOTT) +0:20
Paris-Nice General Classification after Stage 7:
1. Egan Bernal (Team Sky) 26:35:26
2. Philippe Gilbert (Deceuninck-Quickstep) +0:45
3. Nairo Quintana (Movistar) +0:46
5. Jack Haig (Mitchelton-SCOTT) +1:21
Photos courtesy of Getty Images