Paris-Nice #6: Tom-Jelte Slagter withdraws, final climb determines stage

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Rudy Molard (Groupama-FDJ) stormed to victory on stage 6 of Paris-Nice. He finished ahead of Tim Wellens (Lotto-Soudal) and Julian Alaphilippe (Quick Step). Luis Leon Sanchez (Astana) will wear the yellow jersey tomorrow, after securing 4th positing.

Stage 6 of Paris-Nice rolled out from Sisteron to Vence, covering 198km. For Team Dimension Data, the day did not get off to the ideal start, with Tom- Jelte Slagter withdrawing from the race due to illness.

Once racing got underway, there were several attacks. No attack was successful, until a group from the peloton went the wrong way, providing the opportunity for a break of six riders to get away. They were soon chased down by seven others, reuslting in a break of 13 riders, 33km into racing.

The break consisted of Lars Bak (Lotto-Soudal), Amael Moinard (Fortuneo), Paul Martens (Lotto-Jumbo), Cyril Lemoine (Cofidis), Tom Scully (Education First), Fabien Grellier (Direct Energie), Alexander Kristoff (UAE), Nils Politt (Katusha), Dylan Teuns (BMC), Thomas De Gendt (Lotto-Soudal), Arnaud Demare (Groupama-FDJ), Carlos Barbero (Movistar) and Bert Van Lerberghe (Cofidis).

As the race went on several riders were dropped from the main group. After Col Bas had been summited, five riders parted from their companions: De Gendt, Grellier, Moinard, Scully and Barbero. They were caught with 25km to go.

The peloton made their way to Cote de la Colle-sur-Loup, the only category one climb of the day. As expected, it was here that the GC battle started to heat-up. For our African team, Natnael Berhane, Serge Pauwels and Ben King reached the all-important climb with the reduced lead group.

While the race shattered on the steep climb, the most decisive attack came over on the back side. Molard attacked the 14-rider selection in the final km and went on to win, ahead of Wellens and Alaphilippe. Natnael was our best placed rider, finishing in 33rd spot.

Natnael Berhane- Rider
“Today was a really hard day. It seemed like it was always in one line all day, because there was also a strong break up the road. On the 2nd last climb I was in the select group with Serge and Ben before the downhill. It was full-gas all the way to the start of the last climb and you had to start that climb in a good position. I didn’t have the best position but also I didn’t quite have the legs either. I went full but the race exploded on the climb. It was really a very hard day.”