Pedersen takes his turn
March 8 th 2022 - 16:01
A demanding day of racing leading to an uphill sprint - stage 3’s characteristics perfectly suited Mads Pedersen (Trek-Segafredo), who sprinted to his second victory of the season and his first in Paris-Nice. The former World Champion dominated Bryan Coquard (Cofidis) and Wout van Aert (Jumbo-Visma) in Dun-le-Palestel. Stage 4 will bring a different challenge to the riders, with a 13.9km individual time-trial from Domérat to Montluçon, ahead of the mountainous final days that will crown the winner of the 80th edition of Paris-Nice.
A mild weather welcomes the 148 riders taking on stage 3 of Paris-Nice 2022 from Vierzon (1 non-starter: Israel-Premier Tech’s Guillaume Boivin). Three breakaway artists quickly get on the move: Thomas De Gendt (Lotto Soudal), Owain Doull (EF Education-EasyPost) and Alexis Gougeard (B&B Hotels-KTM) break away from the bunch at km 3.
The attackers gain 5'
Jasper Philipsen’s Alpecin-Fenix quickly send Senne Leysen at the front of the bunch to control the gap on the flat first half of the stage. Mads Pedersen’s Trek-Segafredo collaborate as Julien Bernard starts pulling when the gap hits its maximum: 5’10’’ at km 64. Biniam Girmay’s Intermarché-Wanty-Gobert Matériaux also put a put rider at the front of the peloton as the attackers enter the last 80km with a lead of 4 minutes.
De Gendt makes sure he goes first atop the first two categorised ascents of the day to defend the polka dot jersey conquered on day 1 by his Lotto Soudal teammate Matthew Holmes. Meanwhile, tension increases in the peloton as many teams try to position their leaders towards the front on a rolling terrain.
Tension on the ascents
The gap is down to 1’45’’ when the bunch cross the line for the first time (43.9km to go). Riders from Ineos Grenadiers, Bahrain Victorious and Team DSM - with a short-lived attack by Soren Kragh Andersen - maintain a hard pace on the way to the last categorised climb of the day, Côte de Le Peyroux (2.8km, 5.2%), to be summited with 22.6km to go.
After a flurry of attacks, Mathieu Burgaudeau (TotalEnergies) is the only attacker slightly detached from the bunch over the top. Sprinters such as Fabio Jakobsen (Quick-Step Alpha Vinyl Team), Sam Bennett (Bora-Hansgrohe), Dylan Groenewegen (BikeExchange-Jayco) and Niccolò Bonifazio (TotalEnergies) are already dropped.
Stuyven sets Pedersen for victory
Burgaudeau is caught on the following downhill. The Yellow Jersey Christophe Laporte takes the reins for Jumbo-Visma with 17km to go. Mike Teunissen (Jumbo-Visma) returns to drive the bunch into the last 10km alongside riders from Oliver Naesen’s AG2R Citroën and Ivan Garcia Cortina’s Movistar.
Kragh attacks again with 8km to go, but Garcia Cortina’s teammates reel him in 5.5km away from the line. AG2R Citroën drives the bunch into the last kilometre but Jasper Stuyven launches his Trek-Segafredo companion Mads Pedersen to victory, ahead of Bryan Coquard (Cofidis) and Wout van Aert (Jumbo-Visma). Christophe Laporte goes down with Kevin Geniets in the sprint, but they both get back on their bikes and the Frenchman retains the Yellow Jersey on the eve of the TT.