Roglic survives Yates’ assault
March 13 th 2022 - 17:09
Simon Yates (BikeExchange-Jayco) shook Primoz Roglic (Jumbo-Visma) with a stunning attack on the final day of Paris-Nice, but the Slovenian star retained the overall lead with a strong support from Wout van Aert. The battle was on from the start and the intensity never dropped. Dani Martinez (Ineos Grenadiers) attacked with 50km to go, launching an unbridled battle for the stage win and the overall victory. Yates went solo with 19km to go, on the steep slopes leading to Col d’Èze. He opened a serious gap but Roglic and Van Aert brought it down to under 10’’ on the final run-in to the Promenade des Anglais, where the Slovenian star sealed his 10th victory in a World Tour stage race, the first in France. Following his show of force along the week, Van Aert takes the green jersey home as the winner of the points classification, Valentin Madouas (Groupama-FDJ) dominates the KOM standings and Joao Almeida (UAE Team Emirates) is the best young rider.
The peloton have made it to Nice, but the final stage of the Race to the Sun begins in rainy conditions. 88 riders take the start after the withdrawals of David de la Cruz (Astana-Qazaqstan), David Gaudu (Groupama-FDJ), Damien Touzé (AG2R Citroën), Lucas Hamilton, Luka Mezgec (BikeExchange-Jayco), Matteo Jorgenson, Johan Jacobs (Movistar) and Matthew Holmes (Lotto Soudal).
The explosive course (5 ascents and 2,300m of elevation packed in 115.6km of racing) leads to an all out battle from the start. Attacks fly left and right, but no one manages to get away, even on the first ascent of the day, Côte de Levens (cat. 2). Valentin Madouas (Groupama-FDJ) sustains a puncture. His teammate Quentin Pacher goes first over the top to defend the polka dot jersey.
An unbridled stage
The battle is ongoing as attackers try to get away on the Côte de Châteauneuf (cat. 2). But Primoz Roglic’s Jumbo-Visma are determined to control the day, on the ascents, and on the downhills. Splits appear as Mauri Vansevenant (Quick-Step Alpha Vinyl) goes down. He quickly gets back on his bike, and some 30 riders feature in the bunch as they take on the third ascent of the day, côte de Berre-les-Alpes (cat. 3). Aleksandr Vlasov (Bora-Hansgrohe) also has an incident and calls for the medical car.
Pierre Latour (TotalEnergies) sustains a mechanical on the downhill towards Côte de Peille (cat. 1), where Ineos Grenadiers explode the race. Omar Fraile ups the pace… Joao Almeida (UAE Team Emirates) struggles. And Daniel Martinez (Ineos Grenadiers) attacks with 49km to go!
Martinez is unfortunate
Wout van Aert controls for Primoz Roglic (Jumbo-Visma). Only Simon Yates (BikeExchange) and Nairo Quintana (Arkea-Samsic) can follow them. At the summit, they have opened a gap of 1’ to their first chasers, including Adam Yates (Ineos Grenadiers), Joao Almeida (UAE Team Emirates) and Jack Haig (Bahrain Victorious).
Simon Yates goes for the bonus seconds in La Turbie (km 81.1). Van Aert drives the front group and the situation settles until Martinez suffers a rear wheel puncture with 31km to go. He is caught by the chase group at the bottom of the climb to Col d’Èze, with 21km to go, 40’’ behind the leaders.
Yates threatens Roglic
Yates attacks on the steep slopes of the “chemin des vinaigriers”. Roglic can’t keep up and the British climber goes solo. At the summit, he has opened a gap of 25’’ to Roglic and Van Aert. Quintana trails by 55’’. Martinez, Guillaume Martin (Cofidis) and Brandon McNulty (UAE Team Emirates) follow with a gap of 1’25’’.
Yates even brings his lead up to 28’’ on the downhill, but Van Aert and Roglic work together and the gap is down to 8’’ as they enter the last 5km. On the line, Yates takes the stage win 9’’ ahead of Van Aert and Roglic, whose sigh of relief illustrates the intensity of the day’s battles.