Paris-Nice 6: A Wild One

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Cold rain on the dark blue sea. A wild stage. 
94km to go 31 leaders have 2'50", they are: Jan Bakelants, Michael Chérel (AG2R), Jon Izaguirre, Dayer Quintana, Imanol Erviti (Movistar), Lars Boom, Rein Taaramae (Astana), Ben Hermans, Rohan Dennis (BMC), Warren Barguil (Giant), Cyril Gautier, Romain Sicard (Europcar), Simon Yates, Simon Clarke (Orica), Sylvain Chavanel (IAM), Steven Kruijswijk, George Bennett (Lotto-Jumbo), Thomas De Gendt, Tim Wellens (Lotto-Soudal), Nicolas Edet, Luis Mate (Cofidis), Matti Breschel, Robert Kiserlovski, Sergio Paulinho, Michael Valgren (Tinkoff), Sergey Chernetski (Katusha), Bob Jungels (Trek), Tom Slagter, Jack Bauer, Van Baarle (Cannondale) and Jonathan Hivert (Bretagne). 
Embedded image permalinkThomas DeGendt secures his Polka Dot Jersey and on the last KOM the leading group splits. Riders are trying to bridge from the peloton, including the Yellow Jersey. The situation 63 km to go sees 22 riders, then, at 1'35, the group with Kwiatkowski and at 1'45 the group with Porte and Thomas.
Côte de Coaraze (2nd cat) 60 km to go: the front group has 1'25" on the bunch. Behind the chasing groups merged. Ettixx is pulling and the break-away splits: nine leaders are left after the Col Saint-Roche (1st cat): Wellens, Bakelants, Chavanel, Edet, Gautier, Izagirre, Mate, Valgren and Yates. Kwiatkowski and some teammates have created a gap in the descent, six riders follow, including  Tony Gallopin who now attacks: on the Côte de Peille - 29 km to go - he's solo. 
Behind Porte, Thomas, Fuglsang, Spilak, Costa, and Valls have got a gap. Then both Porte and Thomas crash! Unbelivable! Kwiatkowski is back. Gallopin is flying to the finish. 
15 km to go the Frenchman has got a 35'' advantage on the group with Kwiatkowski, Porte and Thomas and 20" on the first chasing group with Costa, Fuglsang, Spilak and Valls. Kwiatkowski keeps attacking but he can't drop the Team Sky riders. 8 km to go Gallopin is virtually in Yellow. 2 km to go the French commentators get nuts. 
Tony Gallopin wins solo. Stage and Jersey. Paris-Nice probably. Tomorrow is an uphill itt...
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Tony Gallopin:
“It was difficult with the rain, it was a really hard day. It was such a difficult stage and to win the race will still be really hard and I hope that I can recover from this tough stage to do that. The time trial is not my best discipline, so we’ll have to see. Tomorrow I’m going to give my best to win the race.
Stage win and yellow jersey, you could hardly dream for a better day
From here:
"It's fantastic. I came here to finish in the top 10 and  now I'm in a position to win Paris-Nice. It's more than I could expect. But the conditions were pretty favourable. When I saw it would rain this morning, I was rather happy. 
When I saw that Etixx Quick Step attacked in the descent I did my best to follow them. And then I saw that Michal Kwiatkowski was unwell so I decided to go for it. It was bold with nearly 30 kms to go but I know the descent very well. It was hard on the climb because there was a strong headwind and I was on my own. But when I heard that Richie Porte had crashed I gave it another go. 
The day I spent in yellow after my stage win in Oyonnax was one of my worst days on the bike. So I first need to recover, have a good night's sleep and hope to have good legs tomorrow.
Will 36 seconds be enough to beat Richie Porte? We'll see. I'll give my best. I know Col d'Eze extremely well. I must have climbed it at least 20 times in training this winter. It's not too hard a climb, it's  not exclusively for climbers."

Michał Kwiatkowski:
"Great race by whole @Etixx_QuickStep! Couldn't finish well for them but I will try tomorrow! Everything or nothing! #OurWay
Hats off to @tonygallopin! Thanks for invitation to join you but my legs were completely empty! #chapeau"

Richie Porte:
"Pretty disappointing day for @GeraintThomas86 and I. Felt like we were on slick tyres. Anyhow great to see @tonygallopin win #chapeau"

Geraint Thomas:
"That's one to forget!! All that hard work by the boys and @richie_porte for it to go 'Pete Tong' at the end!! Still in it though, just..."

Thomas De Gendt:
"We managed to win the stage, get the yellow yersey, keep the mountainyersey and get wellens in top 10 of GC. Today is nice day."

Andrew Talansky:
"Today reminded me of my first Paris-Nice. Freezing. Wet. Only thought is "just keep pedaling". This sport never gets easier but I love it."

Michael Valgren:
"What a hard day. Close to make it with The front group om last climb but missed it with 15 sec. First WT top 10 for me."

Simon Clarke:
"Wow what an epic day here at Paris Nice. Have to be up there with hardest days on the bike! SRM had 270w avg. at the finish after 5hrs+..."

Bob Jungels:
“In the beginning everything went how we wanted with Gert [Steegmans] and myself in the breakaway group. When a lot of riders wanted to jump, Gert set the pace really high until Col de Vence. There I pulled really hard because [Sylvain] Chavanel was coming from behind and with him in the group the peloton would chase harder from behind. 
I think I made the race tougher there, which was not bad, but in the end, yeah, when it started raining I started to freeze. When I was dropped I couldn’t feel my body anymore.  I was getting hungry, too, but when you are that cold you cannot move and it takes too much time to eat something. I saw a lot of guys get the hunger flat today.  I am satisfied with the performance; compared to the beginning of the week my level was much better today.”

Tejay van Garderen:
"On the descent off the Côte de Châteauneuf, I got really cold and I was just shiveringI just felt completely blocked. I tried to stay calm and tried to kind of regroup myself in hopes I would come around on the final climb. But once we started it, my legs were not really working.
It is a huge disappointment because I came in with high hopes. I had good form. I showed that form a couple days ago. to have a day like today, it was one of those typical bad days that you hope that you don't have. Unfortunately, I had one today. All we can do is try to learn from it and move forward. I feel bad for the team because they've worked hard for me all week and we've done a perfect job."

1 Tony Gallopin (Fra) Lotto-Soudal  
2 Simon Spliak (Svk) Katusha  
3 Rui Costa (Por) Lampre-Merida  
4 Jakob Fuglsang (Den) Astana  
5 Rafael Valls (Spa) Lampre-Merida  
6 Michael Valgren (Ned) Tinkoff-Saxo  
7 Tim Wellens (Bel) Lotto-Soudal  
8 Sylvain Chavanel (Fra) IAM Cycling  
9 Arthur Vichot (Fra) FDJ  
10 Nicolas Edet (Fra) Cofidis'
1 Tony Gallopin (Fra) Lotto-Soudal 28:49:42
2 Richie Porte (Aus) Team Sky 0:00:36
3 Michal Kwiatkowski (Pol) Etixx-QuickStep 0:00:37
4 Geraint Thomas (GBr) Team Sky 0:00:38
5 Jakob Fuglsang (Den) Astana
6 Rui Costa (Por) Lampre-Merida 0:00:42
7 Simon Spliak (Svk) Katusha 0:00:53
8 Rafael Valls (Spa) Lampre-Merida 0:01:01
9 Gorka Izagirre (Spa) Movistar) 0:01:19
10 Tim Wellens (Bel) Lotto-Soudal 0:02:00

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