Team Dimension Data for Qhubeka was eager to get in the mix on Friday’s undulating stage in Paris-Nice. However, despite several breakaway attempts, luck wasn’t on our side today.
With no less than six categorized climbs on the menu, many expected that a strong breakaway would have good chances of making it all the way. Therefore, numerous attacks occurred in the opening kilometers of the stage. Especially Ben King was very attentive. The 27-year-old American was part of a four-man group, but despite quickly gaining a two minutes gap, the break didn’t last long. However, King wasn’t done trying and once again, he made it into a strong group of riders. Unfortunately, the peloton didn’t let that break get away either and just as the group was caught, another break went clear and the peloton slowed down.
At the end, the peloton caught that breakaway as well, leaving the overall favorites fighting for the win. Simon Yates (Orica-Scott) attacked on the last 15 km and soloed to victory, while Julian Alaphilippe (Quick-Step Floors) managed to keep the yellow jersey for another day. Serge Pauwels (photo) finished as our best rider in 31st place.
Tomorrow, the queen stage of Paris-Nice awaits the peloton. After overcoming two category 1 climbs, the riders finish on Col de la Couillole. This 15.7 km long ascent has an average gradient of 7.1 % and will have a huge impact on the outcome of both the stage and the overall standings.