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Paris – Nice 2015 Stage 4

photo credit @ Paris – Nice

excerpts from Paris- Nice 

Team Sky were the arch-favorites at the start of this 73rd Paris-Nice and they amply delivered in stage 4 with an impressive one-two at the top of the climb to Croix de Chaubouret on Thursday. Richie Porte, the 2013 winner, won the first major stage of this edition with team-mate Geraint Thomas on his heels, confirming the claim by the British team that they had two cards to play in the Race to the Sun. Yet their brave effort in the finale of the longest stage in this edition (204 km) was not quite enough to seize the overall lead as prologue winner Michal Kiwatkowski (EQS) hanged on to take third place and claim the yellow jersey back, leading Porte by the slimmest margin. Thomas is now third, a further two seconds behind.

De Gendt seizes polka-dot

Three men moved on the gun: Thomas De Gendt (LTS), Antoine Duchesne (EUC), quickly joined by Chris Anker Sorensen (TCS). The peloton were happy to see them go and their lead increased steadily to reach 8:15 at Km 23. De Gendt made his intentions clear by sweeping the points on the first seven ascents of the day to dislodge Philippe Gilbert from the top of the mountain classification. Duchesne was dropped in the 2nd cat. Cote de la Gimond (km 152).

Majka dropped

On the descent, AG2R seized their chance to shake off the peloton and raised the tempo, dropping several big names like Bradley Wiggins (SKY), Thomas Voeckler (EUC) and several sprinters like Alexander Kristoff (KAT), Andre Greipel (LTS) or Nace Bouhanni (FDJ). The most serious contender trapped at the back was Poland’s Rafal Majka (TCS) who suffered a front wheel problem at the worst possible time and had to change bikes twice.

Sky take over

De Gendt and Sorensen were caught with 13 kms to go as BMC riders took the reins. At the very start of the final climb, France’s Warren Barguil (TGA) crashed as Astana and Team Sky took the reins. The British outfit steadily increased the pace, sorting out the leading contenders. While Majka and Bob Jungels (TFR) were among the first to lose ground, yellow jersey holder Michael Matthews (OGE) faltered with six kilometers to go. Tony Martin (EQS) and Tom-Jelte Slagter (TCG) were done two kilometres further down the road.

Three left for final victory?

Once Lars-Petter Nordhaug and Nicholas Roche had finished their team work, Geraint Thomas decided to part company with the rest of the pack three kilometres from the finish line. He was joined by Denmark’s Jakob Fuglsang (AST) and Slovenia’s Simon Spilak (KAT). The leading favorites slowly bridged the gap and on the junction, under the red flame, Richie Porte struck back, taking Thomas with him. This last blow was to much to take for most of the other contenders, except Kwiatkowski. American Tejay Van Garderen is now 27 seconds adrift in fourth overall and Jakob Fuglsang 32 seconds off the pace in fifth.

Stage 4 Results

AUS 1 PORTE, Richie (SKY) 5:18:39
GBR 2 THOMAS, Geraint (SKY)
POL 3 KWIATKOWSKI, Michal (ETIXX – QUICK STEP) + 8
DEN 4 FUGLSANG, Jakob (ASTANA)
USA 5 VAN GARDEREN, Tejay (BMC RACING) + 17
POR 6 FARIA DA COSTA, Rui Alberto (LAMPRE – MERIDA) + 24
FRA 7 GALLOPIN, Tony (LOTTO SOUDAL)
ITA 8 ARU, Fabio (ASTANA)
ESP 9 VALLS FERRI, Rafael (LAMPRE – MERIDA)
SLO 10 SPILAK, Simon (KATUSHA)
FRA 11 BARDET, Romain (AG2R LA MONDIALE) + 30
ESP 12 IZAGUIRRE INSAUSTI, Gorka (MOVISTAR)
POR 13 MACHADO, Tiago (KATUSHA) + 34
BEL 14 WELLENS, Tim (LOTTO SOUDAL) + 1:04
NED 15 DUMOULIN, Tom (GIANT – ALPECIN)
ESP 16 SANCHEZ GIL, Luis Leon (ASTANA) + 1:06
ESP 17 FERNANDEZ, Ruben (MOVISTAR)
FRA 18 PERAUD, Jean-Christophe (AG2R LA MONDIALE)
ARG 19 SEPULVEDA, Eduardo (BRETAGNE-SECHE ENVIRONNEMENT)
SUI 20 FRANK, Mathias (IAM CYCLING)
AUT 21 ZOIDL, Riccardo (TREK FACTORY RACING) + 1:12
FRA 22 EDET, Nicolas (COFIDIS, SOLUTIONS CREDITS) + 1:15
FRA 23 VICHOT, Arthur (FDJ)
RUS 24 TROFIMOV, Yury (KATUSHA)
FRA 25 GAUTIER, Cyril (EUROPCAR)
NED 26 KELDERMAN, Wilco (LOTTO NL – JUMBO) + 1:24
FRA 27 CHAVANEL, Sylvain (IAM CYCLING)
NED 28 SLAGTER, Tom Jelte (CANNONDALE – GARMIN) + 1:36
FRA 29 BOUET, Maxime (ETIXX – QUICK STEP) + 1:42
CRO 30 KISERLOVSKI, Robert (TINKOFF – SAXO)
FRA 31 MOINARD, Amaël (BMC RACING) + 1:55
ESP 32 MATE MARDONES, Luis Angel (COFIDIS, SOLUTIONS CREDITS) + 1:59
IRL 33 ROCHE, Nicolas (SKY) + 2:12
ITA 34 CAPECCHI, Eros (MOVISTAR)
COL 35 QUINTANA ROJAS, Dayer Uberney (MOVISTAR) + 2:15
BEL 36 HERMANS, Ben (BMC RACING) + 2:31
USA 37 TALANSKY, Andrew (CANNONDALE – GARMIN) + 2:51
FRA 38 SICARD, Romain (EUROPCAR) + 3:00
GBR 39 YATES, Simon (ORICA GreenEDGE) + 3:03
BEL 40 BAKELANTS, Jan (AG2R LA MONDIALE)

General Classification after Stage 4

POL 1 KWIATKOWSKI, Michal (ETIXX – QUICK STEP) 19:44:11
AUS 2 PORTE, Richie (SKY) + 1
GBR 3 THOMAS, Geraint (SKY) + 3
USA 4 VAN GARDEREN, Tejay (BMC RACING) + 27
DEN 5 FUGLSANG, Jakob (ASTANA) + 32
FRA 6 GALLOPIN, Tony (LOTTO SOUDAL) + 38
POR 7 FARIA DA COSTA, Rui Alberto (LAMPRE – MERIDA) + 41
ESP 8 IZAGUIRRE INSAUSTI, Gorka (MOVISTAR) + 44
POR 9 MACHADO, Tiago (KATUSHA) + 50
ESP 10 VALLS FERRI, Rafael (LAMPRE – MERIDA) + 51
SLO 11 SPILAK, Simon (KATUSHA) + 52
ITA 12 ARU, Fabio (ASTANA) + 53
FRA 13 BARDET, Romain (AG2R LA MONDIALE) + 1:01
ESP 14 SANCHEZ GIL, Luis Leon (ASTANA) + 1:12
NED 15 DUMOULIN, Tom (GIANT – ALPECIN) + 1:13
ESP 16 FERNANDEZ, Ruben (MOVISTAR) + 1:22
FRA 17 PERAUD, Jean-Christophe (AG2R LA MONDIALE) + 1:23
BEL 18 WELLENS, Tim (LOTTO SOUDAL) + 1:25
AUT 19 ZOIDL, Riccardo (TREK FACTORY RACING) + 1:30
FRA 20 CHAVANEL, Sylvain (IAM CYCLING)

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