Paris-Nice 3: In The Sun

Finally the sun!
And of course a break-away: after 49km Voeckler, Brammeier, Vachon and Siskevicius have 4'20" on the peloton. 
65km to go the gap is down to 1’44”. 
40 km to go the break-away has got just 48". Break caught, only Voekler remains on the attack. 
A crash! Geraint Thomas also down!
Voeckler is solo 35" ahead 27 km to go.

Then I took my bike and had a good ride. Sorry dudes but there was a beautiful sun here too.

The race came together eventually and Nacer Bouhanni won the bunch sprint. 2nd was an oustanding Theuns. 3rd Greipel. No Kittel anywhere.

Nacer Bouhanni:
"My teammates did a fantastic job. There were still four of them with me in the finale. I was a little bit vengeful after my disqualification [on stage 2 -ed]. It was at the back of my mind. I had been disappointed so far. In the first sprint, Arnaud (Demare) outwitted us. The next day I was disqualified. That's sport. We all want to win stages. I'm really glad to have won especially after the work done by my teammates. My form is growing little by little and Paris-Nice is the ideal preparation for my big objective, which is Milan-San Remo."

Edward Theuns:
"We survived the last climb well, I was fairly comfortable in the front. We had to be there 5kms from the finish because that's when the technical part started. I think we came to the front at the perfect moment. The guys brought me to the front, and then Boy [Van Poppel] took the final 2-3kms and kept me out of the wind and put me on Greipel's wheel. He was so strong! I tried to surprise at bit in the sprint. I went from pretty far; I  think 300 meters, and yeah, just in the last 70-80 meters Bouhanni came over me. It's a pity – again close. But I am really happy we are doing this well, and we are playing every day for the win. I think that's very important."

Boy Van Poppel:
"When we turned onto the last climb I felt immediately that I had good legs. It's strange because the first three-quarters of the race I felt awful. I was even thinking about stopping in the feed zone, but Kim [Andersen, director] told me to just try and make it to the finish. When I saw Kittel and other sprinters dropping on the last climb that gave me motivation. I was close to Edward all the time, and I helped Niccolo [Bonifazio] on the climb, too, to help close gaps and keep him out of the wind because I thought I would not be able to do much in the finale, so I just tried to help everybody. Then in the last 20kms, I told Edward to stay calm because it's still 20k and everybody was really nervous. At the end Gregory [Rast] brought us from the left side all the way to the front. Then it was my job in the last 3kms to keep Edward in the front, and I found my good legs again, and I could stay all the time next to the train of Lotto [Soudal] and Bouhanni. 
I knew there were a lot of corners in the last two kilometers, so I just tried to stay in the wind all the time, next to the big sprinters, so that Edward was out of the wind. And then the moment came for me to switch off, I knew he had a good position; otherwise I am just slowing him down and annoying everyone by being in the way. It was better for Edward to have the free way to choose - for me, the best I could do was already over. Then I could see him going in a good wheel; he  was really strong. This is my job, my specialty. And this is also a preparation for me for the Classics, of course, which is my main goal.  It is good to see the team going well."

Marcel Kittel:
"Tough day in the saddle today with a lot of altitude meters for a flat stage. Disappointed to not have the legs for the final."

Michael Matthews:
"Today was about saving energy. I was really tired after yesterday. It was only 100 km but it was really tiring. So today was about saving strength and keeping out of trouble as there were several crashes in the bunch.
Tomorrow is another hard day but I think I can get over Mont Ventoux. If that's the case and there's a few sprinters left, I'll be among those who stand a good chance. I'm really going to take it day by day."

Roy Curvers:
“After the last climb we were a bit out of position but with 10km to go the team was together again. We managed to get Tom in the front with 1km to go. He lost my wheel but with 500 meters we managed to get in a good position again and I was able to bring us both to the finish line with the first 15 riders.”

Richie Porte:
“It was quite a stressful day. On paper it was straightforward but there were cross winds in places and then some teams went full gas on the climbs to try and drop the sprinters. I was really happy with how the team were around me today and I think we did a good job. It’s obviously going to be a hard start but we just have to see what happens. I think that some teams are going to want to go full gas up there [Ventoux] and drop some sprinters too so it should be an interesting day".


1 Nacer Bouhanni (Fra) Cofidis, Solutions Credits 4:42:29
2 Edward Theuns (Bel) Trek-Segafredo
3 André Greipel (Ger) Lotto Soudal
4 Alexander Kristoff (Nor) Team Katusha
5 Michael Matthews (Aus) Orica-GreenEdge
6 Ben Swift (GBr) Team Sky
7 Nikolas Maes (Bel) Etixx - Quick-Step
8 Tony Gallopin (Fra) Lotto Soudal
9 Youcef Reguigui (Alg) Dimension Data
10 Roy Curvers (Ned) Team Giant-Alpecin
11 Geraint Thomas (GBr) Team Sky
12 Mickael Delage (Fra) FDJ
13 Jonas Vangenechten (Bel) IAM Cycling
14 Christophe Laporte (Fra) Cofidis, Solutions Credits
15 Tom Dumoulin (Ned) Team Giant-Alpecin
16 Patrick Bevin (NZl) Cannondale Pro Cycling
17 Gorka Izaguirre (Spa) Movistar Team
18 Lars Boom (Ned) Astana Pro Team
19 Lieuwe Westra (Ned) Astana Pro Team
20 Vicente Reynes (Spa) IAM Cycling
1 Michael Matthews (Aus) Orica-GreenEdge 14:24:15
2 Tom Dumoulin (Ned) Team Giant-Alpecin 0:00:14
3 Patrick Bevin (NZl) Cannondale Pro Cycling 0:00:19
4 Jon Izaguirre (Spa) Movistar Team
5 Geraint Thomas (GBr) Team Sky
6 Lieuwe Westra (Ned) Astana Pro Team 0:00:24
7 Dries Devenyns (Bel) IAM Cycling 0:00:25
8 Rafal Majka (Pol) Tinkoff Team 0:00:27
9 Richie Porte (Aus) BMC Racing Team
10 Tim Wellens (Bel) Lotto Soudal 0:00:28
11 Wilco Kelderman (Ned) Team LottoNl-Jumbo 0:00:30
12 Sep Vanmarcke (Bel) Team LottoNl-Jumbo 0:00:31
13 Gorka Izaguirre (Spa) Movistar Team
14 Ruben Fernandez (Spa) Movistar Team
15 Alexey Lutsenko (Kaz) Astana Pro Team 0:00:33
16 Tony Gallopin (Fra) Lotto Soudal
17 Alberto Contador (Spa) Tinkoff Team
18 Simon Yates (GBr) Orica-GreenEdge 0:00:37
19 Ignatas Konovalovas (Ltu) FDJ
20 Ben Swift (GBr) Team Sky 0:00:38
21 Lawson Craddock (USA) Cannondale Pro Cycling 0:00:40
22 Luis Leon Sanchez (Spa) Astana Pro Team
23 Danilo Wyss (Swi) BMC Racing Team 0:00:41
24 Tom Boonen (Bel) Etixx - Quick-Step 0:00:42
25 Romain Bardet (Fra) AG2R La Mondiale
26 Sergio Henao (Col) Team Sky 0:00:43
27 Ilnur Zakarin (Rus) Team Katusha
28 Niki Terpstra (Ned) Etixx - Quick-Step
29 Tom Jelte Slagter (Ned) Cannondale Pro Cycling 0:00:46
30 Tanel Kangert (Est) Astana Pro Team 0:00:47

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