photo credits @ Paris-Nice
Following yesterday’s cancellation of stage 6 due to extreme wind, Paris-Nice resumed today, with Tadej Pogačar (UAE Team Emirates) claiming victory atop the Col de la Couillole.
Jonas Vingegaard launched the first acceleration after the foundations were laid by his Jumbo-Visma team, but the Tour de France champion then struggled to respond to stinging attacks from Pogačar and David Gaudu (Groupama-FDJ).
The trio tussled on the upper slopes of the 15.7km final climb, with Vingegaard repeatedly clawing his way back to set up a three-way dash to the line at the 1600-meter-high summit.
The Danish rider opened the sprint, but soon faded, while Pogačar out-kicked Gaudu to take his seventh win of the season.
“We were racing full-gas from start, Ineos did a big effort in the middle of the stage and coming to final climb everyone was already a bit dead. For sure today was one of the toughest battles for the finish,” Pogačar said.
A number of riders and teams attempted to take control of the stage, but nothing was able to stick initially as the peloton refused to allow the breakaway to make much headway.
David De La Cruz (Astana Qazaqstan) took the Villars-sur-Var intermediate sprint ahead of Kobe Goossens and Javier Romo (Astana Qazaqstan Team), while on the Cote de Tourrette-du-Chateau, Pascal Eenkhoorn (Lotto Dstny) took maximum points in the Mountains classification.
A sickness bug had also wrecked havoc on the peloton with Sam Bennett and green jersey Mads Pedersen among the non-starters on the day.
A 17-man break formed in the final 40km which was whittled down to five consisting of Goosens, Romo, Nils Politt (Bora–Hansgrohe), Eenkhoorn and Jeremy Cabot (TotalEnergies).
Goossens took the lead when he dropped Romo but was caught in the final 10kms as Pogacar, Gaudu, and Vingegaard battled for supremacy with less than 3km to go.
The Jumbo-Visma man didn’t have the legs to deal with the attacking efforts of his two rivals, however, and saw a four-second gap open up as they went into the final kilometre.
Vingegaard made one last lunge which merely goaded Pogacar to power across the line as Gaudu finished second, two seconds off.
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