Mathieu Burgaudeau took a thoroughly deserved maiden career win at Paris-Nice on Friday after holding held on all the way to the line following a late attack towards the end of the 213.6-kilometre sixth stage from Courthézon to Aubagne.
Burgaudeau, 23, finished ahead of the galloping bunch who just fell short of catching the TotalEnergies rider with Mads Pedersen (Trek-Segafredo) taking second ahead of Wout van Aert (Jumbo-Visma).
Van Aert’s team-mate Rimoz Roglic finished in the same group to keep hold of his leader’s yellow jersey, as did Simon Yates (BikeExchange-Jayco) and Pierre Latour (TotalEnergies) who remain second and third at 39sec and 41sec respectively on general classification.
Paris-Nice continues on Saturday with the 155.4km seventh stage from Nice to Col de Turini and concludes on Sunday.
Stage five: McNulty escapes to land maiden WorldTour win
Thursday March 10 – Saint-Just-Saint-Rambert to Saint-Sauveur-de-Montagut, 188.8km
Brandon McNulty landed the biggest victory of his career on Thursday when the UAE Team Emirates rider went solo from a breakaway to win stage five at Paris-Nice.
Just under a week after team-mate Tadej Pogacar won Strade Bianche with an impressive solo display in the heart of Tuscany, the young American rode away from his breakaway companions en route to taking the first WorldTour win of his career, crossing the line in Saint-Sauveur-de-Montagut almost two minutes ahead of Franck Bonnamour (B&B Hotels-KTM) and Matteo Jorgenson (Movistar).
“I am very happy with my first victory in a WorldTour race, especially for how the week started amidst bad luck and various problems,” McNulty said. “Today everything went according to plan, I got into the breakaway and had good sensations throughout the stage. Arriving at the penultimate climb, the team gave me the green light if I was feeling good and I decided to attack. This is a victory that definitely gives me morale to keep giving my best and aim to do even better.”
Primoz Roglic (Jumbo-Visma), meanwhile, took the leader’s jersey off team-mate Wout van Aert who was dropped relatively early in the stage on the slopes of the Col de la Mure. Roglic now leads by 39sec ahead of Briton Simon Yates (BikeExchange-Jayco) who himself moved up two places to second on general classification, while Frenchman Pierre Latour (TotalEnergies) is now third at 41sec.
Stage four: Van Aert powers into leader’s jersey with time trial win
Wednesday March 9 – Domérat to Montluçon, 13.4km, time trial
Wout van Aert powered his way round the 13.4-kilometre individual time trial from Domérat to Montluçon in 16min 20sec to win stage four at Paris-Nice on Wednesday before wresting the leader’s yellow jersey off the shoulders of Jumbo-Visma team-mate Christophe Laporte.
Van Aert completed the course 2sec ahead of another team-mate Primoz Roglic, while Rohan Dennis was third at 6sec to complete a second one-two-three for Jumbo-Visma following Sunday’s opening stage.
“We are one of the best teams in the time trial, so perhaps this result is not very surprising. Primoz and Rohan have also won many prizes in this discipline and were on the podium of the Olympic time trial last year. That says it all,” commented Van Aert. “This is another victory by and for the team. It’s already been a great week, so hopefully, more great results will come. We are going to do everything we can to win this race.”
Belgian national champion Van Aert now leads the eight-day race by 10sec, with Roglic now after Laporte dropped to third at 28sec.
It was a good day, too, for British rider Simon Yates (BikeExchange-Jayco) who finished fifth, a result that propelled him up to fourth on general classification at 49sec. Simon’s twin brother Adam moved up six places to 11th overall, but the Ineos Grenadiers rider trails Van Aert by 1min 21sec.
Stage three: Pedersen delivered to land perfect sprint win
Tuesday March 8 – Vierzon to Dun-le-Palestel, 190.8km
Mads Pedersen, the former world road race champion, landed his second win of the season after prevailing in a reduced bunch gallop at the end of the 190.8-kilometre third stage from Vierzon to Dun-le-Palestel at Paris-Nice on Tuesday.
Pedersen was delivered to the line with perfection by Trek-Segafredo team-mate Jasper Stuyven before the Dane opened up his sprint ahead of Wout van Aert (Jumbo-Visma). The Belgian, however, was ambushed at the last by Bryan Coquard (Cofidis) for second spot but picked up a 4sec time bonus for finishing third, a result that saw Van Aert close the gap on race leader and team-mate Christophe Laporte, to just 1sec.
Laporte, who has led the race since winning the opening stage ahead of Van Aert and another team-mate Primoz Roglic crashed after touching wheels with Kevin Geniets (Groupama-FDJ) in the final 200m, but kept hold of the leader’s yellow jersey thanks to the 3km rule. Laporte leads Van Aert by 1sec and Roglic, who gained a 2sec time bonus at the second intermediate sprint, by 9sec.
Adam Yates (Ineos Grenadiers) remains the highest-placed Briton on general classification in 17th place at 39sec, while his twin brother Simon (BikeExchange-Jayco) is three places back in 20th on the same time.
Stage two: Flying Dutchman Jakobsen blows field away
Monday March 7 – Auffargis to Orléans, 159.2km
Fabio Jakobsen won his sixth race of the season on Monday when the Quick Step-Alpha Vinyl sprinter got the better of Wout van Aert to claim stage two at Paris-Nice, while Christophe Laporte finished third to keep hold of his leader’s yellow jersey.
On a stage that was dictated by crosswinds – conditions that favour Jakobsen’s Belgian squad – a number of general classification riders, including defending champion Maximilian Schachmann (Bora-Hansgrohe), made huge time losses on Laporte and his Jumbo-Visma team-mate Primoz Roglic after failing to make the front echelon.
There were no such concerns, however, for Quick Step-Alpha Vinyl who had four riders involved in the finale. With Jakobsen perfectly positioned in the run-in to the line at the end of the 159.2-kilometre stage from Auffargis to Orléans, there was only ever going to be one winner. Not that that dissuaded Dutch squad Jumbo-Visma from having a crack. After being gifted the opening stage by team-mates, race leader Laporte returned the favour on Monday as the Frenchman opened up the sprint in an attempt to lead out Van Aert. The Belgian national champion, though, was no match for Jakobsen who in the end won at a canter.
“We love echelons at Quick-Step and we were there with four guys. I’m just happy I could finish it off for the team,” Jakobsen said afterwards. “I have to say, I think the boys from Jumbo had the three among the strongest so it was definitely not easy, but as I said, we love echelons and we had a lot of motivation before the stage.
“Yves [Lampaert] did a major pull and then Styby [Zdenek Stybar] took over with Florian [Sénéchal] and maybe Florian waited just a little bit too long with his lead-out and they could go first but I was always sheltered behind him so I could launch myself to the wheel of Van Aert and then pass on the right. It was a little uphill in the end and I like to sprint a little like that and it’s just nice to be on the podium above those two.”
Jakobsen is expected to be named as Quick Step-Alpha Vinyl’s nominated sprinter for their Tour de France squad ahead of Mark Cavendish, who is currently in action at Tirreno-Adriatico.
Laporte leads team-mate Van Aert by 5sec on general classification, while Roglic is third at 11sec. Adam Yates (Ineos Grenadiers) moved up 26 places and is the highest placed Briton (17th) at 39sec, with his twin brother Simon (BikeExchange-Jayco) three places back in 20th on the same time.
Stage one: Laporte leads home Jumbo-Visma trio
Sunday March 6 – Mantes-la-Ville to Mantes-la-Ville, 159.8km
It was an image that will live long in the memory, three Jumbo-Visma team-mates crossing the line together having blown the race to pieces on the final climb of the opening day of Paris-Nice.
Christophe Laporte, the Frenchman who joined the Dutch squad in the close season, took his first WorldTour win at the end of the 159.8-kilometre first stage from Mantes-la-Ville to Mantes-la-Ville following some exceptional riding from team-mates Rohan Dennis and Mike Teunissen. Dennis, another new Jumbo-Visma signing, and Teunissen set a fierce pace through a crosswind section which saw potential stage winners Ethan Hayter (Ineos Grenadiers) and Sonny Colbrelli (Bahrain Victorious) dropped on what was a fast approach to the day’s final climb.
Once on the 1.2km long Côte de Breuil-Bois-Robert – a climb the riders tackled twice – it was Laporte who rode on the front with team-mates Primoz Roglic and Wout van Aert on his wheel. Zdenek Stybar attempted to hold their wheels, but the Quick Step-Alpha Vinyl rider was dropped leaving the Jumbo-Visma trio to perform a team time trial for the final 6km.
Laporte, 29, was then gifted the win by his colleagues and will wear the leader’s yellow jersey during Monday’s second stage, while Roglic gained almost half a minute on his general classification rivals. As Van Aert said afterwards, it was “an extraordinary victory”.
“I have to thank the team. They told me in the final kilometre that it was for me, so it’s really a nice gift for me,” Laporte said. “I’ve won my first Paris-Nice stage and I’m in the yellow jersey. If someone had told me that at the start of the day I wouldn’t have believed it. To go to the finish with three, it’s incredible. The work we’ve done has paid off.”
Van Aert added: “We had the plan to make the race hard on the climb. We thought this could be a good move for my winning chances and Primoz’s classification. Christophe took over from Nathan [Van Hooydonck] so fiercely that we put everyone on the limit. I was surprised only three of us were left.
“Then it was a matter of racing to the finish as fast as possible. I think this is an extraordinary victory for Christophe in his own country. Also because of the yellow jersey that comes with it. I wanted to give him this victory.”