Jerome Cousin (Direct Energie) won a nail-biting stage 5 ahead of Nils Politt (Katusha-Alpecin) and André Greipel (Lotto Soudal). Luis Leon Sanchez (Astana Pro Team) retains the yellow jersey for another day.
Stage 5 of Paris-Nice, while not a pure mountain stage, included two third category climbs, one second category climb, and the first category one climb of the race. The wet roads made for treacherous descents, even though the temperature was moderate.
A group of four went up the road 30 km into the race, containing Nils Politt (Katusha-Alpecin), Nicolas Edet (Cofidis), Jerome Cousin (Direct Energie) and Julien El Fares (Delko Marseille Provence KTM) just before the first climb of the day. Politt escaped from the quartet, before being joined by Cousin. They would manage to stay away for the remainder of the race, coming within sight of the peloton, but never to be caught.
The final 20km were a finishing circuit that included a climb, which challenged the bunch. Four of our riders made it into the reduced peloton; Ryan Gibbons, Ben King, Natnael Berhane and Serge Pauwels. A crash in the final km interrupted the peloton’s chase of the two escapees, and Cousin out-sprinted Politt to go on to win the stage. A bunch sprint determined the rest of the top classification. Ryan Gibbons was our best placed rider, finishing in 19th place, after Ben and Natnael were held-up by the crash.
Ryan Gibbons- Rider
Two of the riders stayed away, unfortunately, and it was a really reduced peloton with myself, Natu, Serge and Ben left. In the final there were a few crashes and I’m not feeling well personally, so I was a bit out of it. I think Ben would have been in a really good position, but he was held up in the crash unfortunately. I think it was good to see that there were four of us in the final. We were missing Tom, Tom is not feeling well as are a number of guys in the peloton actually. It was positive from our team though and we had strength in numbers, so hopefully we can do something in the coming stages.