- - Paris-Nice 2024 Stage 7

Paris-Nice 2024 Stage 7

photo credits @ Paris-Nice

Aleksandr Vlasov soloed to victory in the Paris-Nice stage seven summit finish on Saturday as unseasonable weather played havoc with what had been billed as the race showdown.

Overnight leader Brandon McNulty was dropped on the final climb but dug deep in a damage limitation effort that salvaged a slender four-second lead over fellow American Matteo Jorgenson, with pre-race favorite the Belgian Remco Evenepoel in third at 36sec.

The expected penultimate stage showdown was reduced to a skirmish due to the ultra-short 104km route, but Sunday’s finale in the Nice back-country mountains could create a bigger shake-up.

Saturday’s finish up the Madone d’Utelle 15km climb at 5.7% saw the field gradually whittled down with Bora-Hansgrohe rider Vlasov going out alone with 5km remaining.

Resurgent Ineos rider Egan Bernal was bereft of his sherpa Carlos Rodriguez and lost time, while Evenepoel had Yves Lampaert until late in the climb and was first across the line from the yellow jersey group.

Today’s stage was shortened due to snow and ice in the mountains and was contested in cold, rainy conditions.

Sunday’s stage is still a tough one with potential for a shake-up with five climbs on the 109km route.

Race Highlights

Benjamin Thomas (Cofidis), Johan Jacobs (Movistar) and Martijn Tusveld (DSM) attacked from the start. Sandy Dujardin (TotalEnergies), Brent Van Moer (Lotto Dstny), Gijs Leemreize (DSM) chased behind them. At the top of the Cote de Gattieres (Km 10.1), Thomas collected the five points shortly before Tusveld dropped back because of a mechanical. After 35 km, Thomas and Jacobs found themselves alone in the front with Ineos Grenadiers leading the chase one minute behind.

Jacobs alone in the lead

In cold and rainy conditions, several riders called it quits: Timo Roosen (DSM), Pierre Latour and Anthony Turgis (TotalEnergies)… In the long descent towards Saint-Jean-la-Rivière, as the Soudal-Quick Step team-mates of Remco Evenepoel were leading the way, Harold Tejada (Astana), 9th overall, was halted by a mechanical and lost precious time changing his front wheel. With 35 km to go, Thomas decided to wait for the bunch and Jacobs found himself on his own up the road.  The towering Swiss bravely stayed in the front until the climb to La Madone d’Utelle.

In the climb

Evenepoel changed bikes looking ahead to the final ascent and the peloton trailed Jacobs by 35 seconds when it reached the bottom. The Swiss rider was reeled in in the first kilometer of the climb as leaders like David Gaudu (Groupama-FDJ) and Pello Bilbao (Bahrain) were losing ground. Louis Vervaeke (Soudal-Quick Step) led the way up the road until the 8-km-to-go mark when Laurens de Plus (Ineos Grenadiers) took over. At the intermediate sprint of the day (Km 96.7), Egan Bernal surged and took the 10 points and 6 seconds up for grabs, ahead of Ilan van Wilder and Evenepoel.

McNulty saves jersey

The Belgian champion waited until 4.4 km to launch his attack but McNulty and Jorgenson reacted easily. Vlasov seized his chance to counterattack and go on his own. The battle between the GC contenders resumed in the last two kilometers, when Evenepoel raised the pace again, dropping McNulty and Bernal, but taking Roglic, Jorgenson, Buitrago and Skjelmose with him. The Belgian champion sprinted for second place ahead of Roglic and McNulty crossed the line 30 seconds after Vlasov, to narrowly save his leader’s jersey.    

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