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Bicycle Racing News and Opinion,
Saturday March 13, 2021

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2020 Tour de France | 2020 Giro d'Italia

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Covid-19 forces changes to Paris-Nice's final two stages

The organization posted this update:

In order to respect the spirit and the rules of the lockdown imposed in the city of Nice during the weekend, organisers redesigned the itineraries of the last two stages of Paris-Nice in agreement with the local and state authorities. As a result, the new course for stage 7 is a 119.2-km route between Le Broc and the resort of La Colmiane, with a start given at 11:35. For the final stage, the start previously scheduled, like the finish, to take place on the Promenade des Anglais was moved to Le Plan Du Var, with a start at 14:25 for a 92.7 km ride to Levens.  

Paris-Nice stage six 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:

Primoz Roglic has won the sixth stage of Paris-Nice after the fourth stage. The rider of Team Jumbo-Visma managed to stay ahead of the competition with a strong sprint. With this, the Slovenian also took 10 bonification seconds, which increased his lead in the general classification.

Primoz Roglic

Primoz Roglic dives for the line. Jumbo-Visma photo

The long and hilly stage was one with little action. Jonas Rutsch was caught by the peloton in the last kilometre before the finish line. In the short climb before the finish Roglic took his chance to finish and rode to his second stage victory in the French race.

“It is great to win like this and I am really super happy”, said the wearer of the yellow leader's jersey. “Today was a long and tough stage for everyone. The pace was high from the start. It's nice that I had the legs to finish it off.”

The organisation announced today that the last two stages have been shortened. The Slovenian mainly looks at himself. “I haven't been working on it that much yet. As riders, we have no influence on the changes, so we just have to deal with them. Because of the shortened stages, I expect that there will be hard racing from the start. That certainly doesn't make it any easier. ”

Sports director Frans Maassen is happy with the way the team has dealt Tony Martin’s withdrawal. “We thought we would have to do a lot of work, but luckily we got help from other teams. Jos has been put to work hard and has ridden for two today. Partly because of this, Primoz could finally compete in the sprint, which he timed incredibly well.”

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

Today's stage at Paris-Nice yet again presented a route of over 200 km, from Brignoles to Biot. However, compared to the day prior, the terrain was quite hilly, and came to a conclusion with an ascent. Maximilian Schachmann, who was able to collect several bonus seconds yesterday, went into today's stage in a promising position, at second overall. The terrain could have favoured a breakaway group and after 50 km, the leaders of the day had established themselves, all but one of whom were caught 20 km ahead of the finish. The sole remaining leader was joined by another rider, but by virtue of the increased pace back in the peloton, they were reeled back in just a little later.

Max Schachmann

Max Schachmann is still in second place. Bettini photo

With the finale being too tough for the pure sprinters, the stage was ultimately decided in a reduced sprint, and in the final 300m, P. Roglič took his chances, and ultimately the stage victory. Maximilian Schachmann crossed the line as the best-placed BORA - hansgrohe rider in 19th position, in the same time as the day's winner. With that performance, he confirmed his second place in the GC ahead of tomorrow's mountain stage.

From the Finish Line:
"It was a tough day and very hectic at the end. We tried to stay together and then ride at the front at the end, but I had to re-position myself too often. On the final climb I wasn’t able to find a good wheel to follow, and could have taken one of the corners a little better, so we weren’t able to do more today." - Maximilian Schachmann

"Our goal was to defend Max's second place in the GC, and we did that very well. The second aim was to try to win the stage with him. We knew that it would be a finale for riders such as Roglič or Matthews. That didn't quite work out, but chapeau to the whole team, with everyone supporting Max very well today, on a stage that was ridden in a very tough way. So to summarise, we may not have won anything today, but we also didn't lose anything either." - Jens Zemke, Sports Director

Tirreno-Adriatico stage three team reports:

We posted the report from third-place Davide Ballerini's Deceuninck-Quick Step team with the results.

Here's the report from Team DSM:

Today saw the peloton take on the longest stage of the race, with 219 kilometres on the menu from Monticiano to Gualdo Tadino and a long, dragging uphill finish. Almost from the flag drop a breakaway was able to establish itself at the head of the race, with all Team DSM riders in the bunch.

The peloton always appeared to be in control and kept the gap steady, but with around 60 kilometres to go the bunch sat up somewhat and the gap expanded to six minutes. As a result, it caused a fast chase to reel in those ahead with the break finally caught at three kilometres to go. The team worked well to move forward as a unit, with two goals in mind; keeping Romain Bardet safe and set up Max Kanter for the finish.

Peloton

A grey day in Tuscany and Umbria. Sirotti photo

On the long drag to the line, the pace continued to increase with Kanter giving it his all and digging deep in an attempt to contest the reduced sprint finish. Unfortunately, he lost contact with the front of the group as the stinging tempo was set but still continued to ride well and show guts by finishing in the reduced peloton of 50 alongside Bardet, who stayed safely within the group and held onto his GC place.

“It was a long and hard day out on the bike today, which basically had a bit of everything in it,” explained road captain Nikias Arndt. “We had a lot of altitude metres, especially in the beginning of the stage and there were also some side winds which caused some echelons. At the end I think we managed well to bring Max into a good position for the final but unfortunately he didn’t have the legs to go for a top result. Our second goal was to also make sure that Romain was there and didn’t lose time, which we succeeded at. It was a good team effort today on a hard stage. Unfortunately, no day result but we showed nice teamwork to bring Romain and Max into the finale in a solid position.”

Team DSM coach Matt Winston added: “Today we had the longest stage of the race over a rolling parcours. Coming into the finish it was a bit chaotic in the fight for the front of the peloton but we took up a good position on the right side of the road to protect Max and Romain. Going onto the final climb Max gave it his best but just didn’t have the legs to compete for a top result. Romain was up there and sprinted in for us, keeping ahold of his GC position. We’re pleased by the commitment and teamwork the guys showed today; we’ll keep working on it and give it another go tomorrow.”

And here's the report from UAE Team Emirates:

Tadej Pogačar continues to climb the standings in Tirreno-Adriatico, with the Slovenian sprinting to 8th and moving up to 5th in the GC on stage 3. Another stage with an uphill finish (500 meters with gradients from 3 to 5%) ended with a sprint and victory for the Dutch champion Mathieu Van der Poel (Alpecin-Fenix), who overcame Wout Van Aert (Jumbo-Visma) and Davide Ballerini (Deceunick-Quick Step).

Tadej Pogacar

Tadej Pogacar earlier this year at the UAE Tour. Bettini photo

On what was the longest stage of the race, 219 km from Monticiano to Gualdo Tadino, the UAE team fought to protect Pogačar who now wears the white jersey as leader of the young rider classification.

Pogačar will face the queen stage of the Corsa dei Due Mari, from Terni to Prati di Tivo, 148 km with the ascent of the Capannelle Pass, wearing the white jersey and starting from 5th position in the general classification (+20 “from Van Aert). 13.8 km at 4.5% average gradient which crests at 41.5 km from the finish) and finishing uphill (14.7 km at 7%).

Pogačar: “I am happy to be able to start tomorrow wearing the white. It will be tough stage I think. I’ll be looking for a good result: 20 seconds separate me from the top of the standings, we will see in Prati di Tivo if it is a small or substantial margin. I’m feeling good but today was a hard long day in cold temperatures so the focus now is on recovery ”.

In France, Brandon McNulty saw his participation Paris-Nice end in the worst possible way.

105 km from the end of the 6th stage (Brignoles-Biot, 202.4 km), the American, who started this morning in third in the general classification and as the leader of the youth classification, was forced to retire due to a fall. The tests carried out in the hospital excluded serious consequences, highlighting abrasions and some wounds, promptly sutured.

The stage ended with a win for Primoz Roglic (Jumbo-Visma), the fastest of the group of 38 riders which also contained Rui Costa.

Roglic is now the leader of the general classification, Rui Costa is 31st at 2’43 “.

The 7th stage is an uphill finish at Valdeblore la Colmiane (departure from Le Broc, 119.2 km).

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