- - Paris-Nice 2024 Stage 6

Paris-Nice 2024 Stage 6

photo credits @ Paris-Nice

Danish champion Mattias Skjelmose (Lidl-Trek), helped all day by his team-mate Mads Pedersen, stole the show between Sisteron and La Colle-sur-Loup to win the 6th stage of Paris-Nice in a three-man breakaway today. Gone with him in the short but gruelling last climb, were Americans Brandon McNulty and Matteo Jorgenson who finished second and third, while the UAE Team Emirates rider took back the yellow jersey he handed for two days to Australian Luke Plapp. Jorgenson, who launched the decisive move in the finale, will sport the white jersey in Saturday’s modified mountain stage.

Race Highlights

After 12 km, Cédric Beullens (Lotto Dstny), Jonas Rutsch (EF-Easypost) and Anthony Turgis (TotalEnergies) managed to part with the peloton but were caught three kilometres later, with KOM leader Mathieu Burgaudeau (TotalEnergies) went in turn, with fellow-Frenchman Rémi Cavagna (Movistar). But the peloton, led by a hyper-active Mads Pedersen (Lidl-Trek), did not let anybody go.  

KOM battle

At the foot of the first climb of the day, Col des Lèques (2nd cat. km 69.8), Christian Scaroni (Astana) ­– second in the KOM classification – attacked on his own, but he was caught before the summit by a bunch led by Burgaudeau. A group of six emerged 1 km from the top, with Scaroni, Burgaudeau, Bruno Armirail (Decathlon-Ag2R), Georg  Zimmermann (Intermarché-Wanty), Michel Storer (Tudor) and Gijs Leemreize (DSM). Scaroni beat Burgaudeau at the top to take two points off the Frenchman’s lead.

Ten riders in the lead

Into the next ascent, Col de Luens (km 83), the break had been joined by Mads Pedersen (Lidl-Trek), Cedric Beullens (Lotto Dstny), Laurence Pithie (Groupama-FDJ) and Marco Haller (Bora-Hasngrohe) and the ten were leading the pack by two minutes. Still the gap rapidly decreased as Omar Fraile and Jonathan Castroviejo (Ineos Grenadiers) led the peloton at a frantic pace. At the top, Burgaudeau led Scaroni to take back the two points lost in the previous climb and added one more in the following Cote de la Blachette (km 92.6).

Peloton splits

The gap then stabilised at around a minute until the 2nd category Col de Gourdon, when Ineos Grenadiers brought the bunch back on the leading group. Burgaudeau still managed to sprint ahead of Scaroni for five more points. The peloton split in several groups in the descent, with all the main favourites in the front 35-man bunch. At the foot of the gruelling Cote de La Colle-sur-Loup, the Bora-Hansgrohe upped the tempo and led out Primoz Roglic.

Roglic shoots first

The 2022 Paris-Nice winner launched a blistering attack, but he was soon caught by the other leading favourites. In a slippery turn, stage 4 winner Santiago Buitrago crashed and suffered a mechanical which cost him a lot. At the same moment, Matteo Jorgenson surged and reached the top on his own. He was later joined by  Skjelmose and McNulty. The three reached the intermediate sprint of Tourrettes-sur-Loup in that order, with a 20 seconds lead over a yellow jersey group including Roglic, Plapp, Remco Evenepoel (Soudal-Quick Step), Jay Vine (UAE Emirates), Wilco Kelderman (Visma-Lease a Bike), Egan Bernal (Ineos-Grenadiers), Felix Gall and Aurélien Paret-Peintre (Decathlon-Ag2R), Aleksandra Vlasov (Bora-Hansgrohe) and Harold Tejada (Astana). The leading trio gained momentum and were left to battle it out for the stage victory.

Skjelmose the faster man

Ironically for Jorgenson, who had done most of the work in the finale, Skjelmose was the faster man in the last stretch and he went on to win the stage while McNulty took back the yellow and white jersey he had left to Luke Plapp for two days. The American Visma-Lease a Bike rider will be content with being second overall and taking the white jersey into Saturday’s 104-km mountain stage to La Madone d’Utelle.   

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