Cycling | 6 maart 2018

Tough final climbs prevent new bunch sprint in Paris-Nice

The tough Cote de Charbonniers, twenty kilometre before the finish, has prevented a bunch sprint in the third stage of Paris-Nice. The climb was too tough for most of the sprinters, including Dylan Groenewegen. Three riders stayed away. Behind these three, Timo Roosen sprinted to the seventeenth place. Robert Gesink also finished in the group with the favourites. They crossed the finish line about half a minute behind stage winner Jonathan Hivert.

Sports-director Nico Verhoeven looked back on the stage with mixed feelings. “It was a very long stage. We had hoped for a bunch sprint with Dylan, but the final was too difficult. We started the last climb with a complete group and the boys were in the front at the start of the ascent, but you never know how others will race on the climb. When Quick Step started to accelerate at the bottom of the hill, the pace became too high for most sprinters, including Dylan. Timo showed today that he is in a good shape.”

In the next days, Verhoeven sees more opportunities: “The fifth stage, Thursday, may still end in a bunch sprint. If that’s the case, we will be playing Dylan again. In the other stages it is up to Robert. If he is doing well in the overall standings after tomorrow’s time trial, we will go for the overall classification. Otherwise, he will pick a stage to go for a result.”