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Bicycle Racing News and Opinion,
Sunday March 14, 2021

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2020 Tour de France | 2020 Giro d'Italia

The audiobook version of The Story of the Tour de France, Volume 1 is available.

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Paris-Nice stage seven team reports

We posted the organizer's report with the results.

Here's the report from stage winner & GC leader Primoz Roglic's Jumbo-Visma team:

After having won the fourth and sixth stage, Primoz Roglic has also won the seventh stage of Paris-Nice. The Team Jumbo-Visma rider went by the Swiss Gino Mäder in the last few metres with a strong final sprint and extended his overall lead on the competition in the battle for the overall victory.

Primoz Roglic

Primoz Roglic going by Gino Mäder to win the stage. Jumbo-Visma photo

The short queen stage, with four climbs along the way, was controlled by Team Jumbo-Visma, among others. George Bennett and Steven Kruijswijk increased the pace on the final climb to La Colmiane, after which Roglic finished it off with his well-known jump.

Roglic’s third stage victory marked the sixth season victory for Team Jumbo-Visma’s World Tour formation.

“I always want to win”, Roglic said. “I saw an opportunity and I took it. It was a short, but tough stage. In the end it was very tight, but luckily I managed to take the win. The team controlled the stage well and luckily I was able to finish it off for them. Paris-Nice is a great race and I would like to add it to my palmares. But we are not there yet. I expect the necessary attacks tomorrow and we have to stay sharp and focused to bring the victory home.”

Here's the report from third-place Max Schachmann's Bora-hansgrohe team:

Due to local Covid measures, the route of today’s penultimate stage had to be changed somewhat, meaning that the race did not start in Nice, but rather in Le Broc. Instead of the planned 165 km, only 119 km were ridden, yet the 16 km-long final climb to Valdeblore was maintained in the program. At the foot of the climb, only eight of the original 13 escapees were still in the lead, while behind them the peloton had thinned out considerably.

With 5km remaining, one of the lead riders rode out a gap to his remaining breakaway companions, while the reduced group of favourites rode 35 seconds in arrears. When Max Schachmann picked up the pace with 1000m to go, only four riders were able to follow him, among them P. Roglič. The Slovenian attacked right afterwards, but Max was able to chase him down. In the final metres, Roglič pushed again, and overtook the remaining rider out front, which led to him taking the stage win. Max crossed the line in third place and with that impressive performance, defended his second place in the general classification.

Max Schachmann

Max Schachmann in front of the lead group near the finish with Roglic about to light the jets. Bettini photo

From the Finish Line:
"I am very happy about my third place and also very proud of the whole team. We rode a really strong race and I had great support. I took on the foot of the climb well and felt quite good in general. In the last 2 km I attacked again, but Roglič was still able to keep up. Ultimately, he was a bit fresher in the sprint, but this third place today almost feels like a win." - Maximilian Schachmann

"Chapeau to Max for his performance. We went into the race primarily to try and secure our podium position today, and that’s precisely what we achieved. That Max was able to attack Primož was an exceptional performance. I don't think there are many riders in the world who’d be able to launch an attack against him in his current form. It's a shame that Max wasn't rewarded with the win for this brave performance, but I think that his third place, as well as his performance today, is definitely worth congratulating. It is also a confirmation of his victory last year. Well done to our group of sprinters, who were able to support Max well into the race on this difficult mountain stage. Tomorrow we hope that we can still bring the race to a good conclusion for us, and we are also very confident in that." - Christian Pömer, Sports Director

David Gaudu's Groupama-FDJ team posted this report:

The action was set to begin right from start in this intense, only 120-kilometer long stage 7 of Paris-Nice. The riders had to tackle the Gilette climb after few hundred meters and a group of thirteen took advantage of it to make a gap on the bunch: Neilson Powless (EF Education-Nippo), Andrey Amador, Laurens De Plus (Ineos Grenadiers), Alexey Lutsenko (Astana Premier Tech), Kenny Elissonde, Julien Bernard (Trek-Segafredo), Thomas De Gendt (Lotto-Soudal), Sam Bennett, Mattia Cattaneo (Deceuninck-Quick Step), Anthony Perez (Cofidis), David De la Cruz (UAE Team Emirates), Dylan Teuns and Gino Mäder (Bahrain-Victorious). As some of them were quite close on the general standings, the yellow jersey’s teammates never let the break take too much of a gap. They indeed got a 2’40-margin at best, at the top of the third and penultimate climb of the day in Saint-Antonin.

The peloton then headed to the bottom of La Colmiane, while gradually reducing the gap on the leading riders. Ahead of the final climb (16.2 km at 6.2%), David Gaudu could still get the support of Bruno Armirail and… Arnaud Démare. “Paradoxically, Arnaud may have had his best day on this Paris-Nice on a stage that did not really suit him,” said Thierry Bricaud. “He was still with David at the bottom of La Colmiane and he fought well. It shows that he keeps improving and that he is in good condition. It’s good for the future”.

Within the favourites group, riders started to be dropped early on due to the high tempo. David Gaudu tried to keep his rivals’ wheels as long as possible, but had to let the group go with five kilometers to the top. “I was already flat-out from the start, I was on the limit in the first climbs,” the Frenchman explained later. “For the past two days, I haven’t felt great. It was hard all day but I held on. In my head I was like ‘the team has been working for me all week, you need to fight on’. I was just hoping the legs would be back for that last climb. I just couldn’t give up. I tried to hang the best I could with what I had today.”

David Gaudu

David Gaudu suffered un jour sans, a day without the power he needed. Groupama FDJ photo.

At the top, the fresh winner of the Faun-Ardèche Classic had to settle for 25th, far from his true level. “We are disappointed because he had ambitions in this Paris-Nice, and for this stage in particular”, confessed Thierry. “He did not have the legs and there is surely an explanation. His crash cannot be forgotten. Today wasn’t the day to have bad legs, but that’s part of the game. We know very well he’s not where he belongs tonight.”

Now 22nd in the overall standings, David Gaudu will not meet the goals he set for himself when he started the Race to the Sun. “I’m disappointed for myself and for the team,” he added. “This is not what we came for. It’s part of bike racing, but it hurts. Tonight, I am very disappointed but already from tomorrow, I will look forward to the next races”. “What’s most frustrating is that he had done everything right until then, including doing a decent time trial,” concluded Thierry. “Even if the race is not over, we know that it will now be difficult to get a good position in the general classification”. Sunday’s stage 8, redesigned due to health restrictions in Nice, does not seem suitable indeed to turn the race upside down. The riders will only have to cover 93 slightly hilly kilometers from Le Plan-du-Var to Levens.

Tirreno-Adriatico stage four team reports:

We posted the report from second-place Simon Yates' Team BikeExchange with the results.

Here's the report from Joao Almeida's Deceuninck-Quick Step team:

Prati di Tivo – an ascent that more than four decades ago featured on the Giro d’Italia – returned at Tirreno-Adriatico after eight years and did it with a bang, reshuffling the general classification after three rather quiet days, which didn’t create any relevant gaps between the contenders. The action began midway through the 14.6km climb, when the remnants of the break still had over two minutes on what was becoming a depleted peloton with every meter ticked off.

João Almeida deployed his climbing skills and produced another performance hard to ignore, showing plenty of guts as he tried to reduce the gap to Tadej Pogacar (UAE Team Emirates), who was at the front after attacking inside the last four kilometers. Third overall at the first World Tour stage race of the year, Almeida underlined again his strong condition by climbing with impressive fluidity despite the suffering inflicted by the stiff gradients while more and more riders were losing contact with the elite chasing group.

Joao Almeida

Joao Almeida finished sixth. Sirotti photo

Sixth on the line, just half a minute behind the winner, João took a lot of confidence from his ride on the race’s queen stage, which saw him move up a place in the overall standings: “I felt good today despite the big tempo we had in the group. The attacks came early, and I tried to go at my own pace, without panicking. I was there with some of the best climbers in the bunch, so I’d say the signs are really good, which makes me confident I have a chance of improving my GC over the next days.”

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