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Paris Nice Stage 4 Report, Photos and Results
 
By Mark Sharon
Date: 3/12/2014
Paris Nice Stage 4 Report, Photos and Results
 
Untitled Document

12 March, 2014

Stage 4, 201.5km, Nevers to Belleville

Thomas, the 'also-man' proves he is worthy by taking race lead

Sky's Geraint Thomas has finally came out from under the yoke of being a super-domestique also-ran of the GC when he snatched the lead in the Paris-Nice after finishing second to Garmin-Sharp's Tom-Jelte Slagter on Stage 4.

They might have seemed unexpected leaders at the start but Geraint Thomas and Tom-Jelte Slagter proved the skeptics wrong in the decisive 201.5-kms 4th stage of Paris-Nice to Belleville on Wednesday.

Tom Jelte STAGTER wins stage 4 © ASO P.Perreve

The steep Mont-Brouilly was thought to the first turning point of the Race to the Sun this year and it was. And in a race which is proving unreadable, Dutchman Slagter and Welshman Thomas were the boldest, breaking away from the pack to go for stage win and yellow jersey. The duo combined their efforts to achieve their respective goals and managed to keep a bunch of favorites at bay to earn their moment of glory. Overall, Thomas, who only replaced title-holder Richie Porte as the Team Sky leader on the eve of the start proved the faith of his management and now leads stage 3 winner John Degenkolb by three seconds with Slagter third, four seconds adrift.  

Four-man break

The start was given at 10:45 to 164 riders in sunny weather, as usual this week. Winner three years ago in Belleville, Thomas Voeckler (EUC) briefly attempted to part company with the bunch before being reeled in. Valerio Agnoli (AST), Laurent Didier (TFR) and stage 3 escapee Perrig Quemeneur (EUC) in turn tried their luck after 11 km and were quickly joined by Spanish champion Jesus Herrada (MOV). The peloton let them go and the gap went up to 6:20 at most at kilometre 111 before the first climbs appeared.

 

Jesus HERRADA LOPEZ (MOV) - Laurent DIDIER (TFR) - Valerio Agnoli (AST) - Perrig Quemeneur (EUC)© ASO P.Perreve

Agnoli claims polka-dot jersey

The four just had the time to tackle the 3rd category Cote de la Clayette (km 137.5), Col de Champ de Juin (Km 156.5) and Col de Crie (Km 164) before being reined in. Each time, Agnoli collected the four points by crossing the top in first place which was enough for the Italian to take the polka-dot jersey away from France's Christophe Laborie. The break ended at the foot of Mont Brouilly (Km 183), leaving the stage for the strong men of this Paris-Nice to battle it out.

Slagter and Thomas the boldest

Team Sky, who took charge of most of the chase, kept leading the way in the steep hill over looking the Beaujolais vineyards. The decisive move was launched by Slagter, the 2013 winner of the Tour Down Under, who surged in the last kilometre of the ascent. Geraint Thomas (was the only rider capable of taking his wheel. The two took turns in the last ten kilometers with a first bunch involving other favorites like Vincenzo Nibali (AST), Carlos Betancur (AG2R), Jakob Fuglsang (AST) or world champion Alberto Rui Costa (LAM) on their heels, while yellow jersey holder John Degenkolb (GIA) was in a second group, not too far down.

On the line, track specialist Thomas and hopeful Slagter retained a slim lead on their chaser and Thomas, who had done most of the work in the finale, could not resist the Dutchman's jump in the final stretch. Another Dutchman, Wilco Kelderman, broke from the bunch in the last kilometer to snatch third place.

Geraint Thomas takes the lead in the Paris Nice© ASO P.Perreve


Stage Result - Top 30

1 Tom Jelte Slagter (Ned) Garmin Sharp 5:00:09  
2 Geraint Thomas (GBr) Team Sky    
3 Wilco Kelderman (Ned) Belkin-Pro Cycling Team 0:00:05  
4 Michael Matthews (Aus) Orica GreenEdge    
5 Zdenek Stybar (Cze) Omega Pharma - Quick-Step Cycling Team    
6 Arthur Vichot (Fra) FDJ.fr    
7 Peter Velits (Svk) BMC Racing Team    
8 Jose Joaquin Rojas Gil (Spa) Movistar Team    
9 Cyril Gautier (Fra) Team Europcar    
10 Samuel Dumoulin (Fra) AG2R La Mondiale    
11 Rui Alberto Faria Da Costa (Por) Lampre-Merida    
12 Jon Izaguirre Insausti (Spa) Movistar Team    
13 Eduardo Sepulveda (Arg) Bretagne - Seche Environnement    
14 Tim Wellens (Bel) Lotto Belisol    
15 Carlos Alberto Betancur Gomez (Col) AG2R La Mondiale    
16 Damiano Caruso (Ita) Cannondale    
17 Arnold Jeannesson (Fra) FDJ.fr    
18 Przemyslaw Niemiec (Pol) Lampre-Merida    
19 Fränk Schleck (Lux) Trek Factory Racing    
20 Romain Bardet (Fra) AG2R La Mondiale    
21 Jakob Fuglsang (Den) Astana Pro Team    
22 George Bennett (NZl) Cannondale    
23 Sébastien Reichenbach (Swi) IAM Cycling    
24 David Lopez Garcia (Spa) Team Sky    
25 Simon Spilak (Slo) Team Katusha    
26 Vincenzo Nibali (Ita) Astana Pro Team    
27 Iurii Trofimov (Rus) Team Katusha    
28 Stefan Denifl (Aut) IAM Cycling    
29 John Gadret (Fra) Movistar Team    
30 Lars Petter Nordhaug (Nor) Belkin-Pro Cycling Team 0:00:18

General Classification - Top 30

1 Geraint Thomas (GBr) Team Sky 18:14:25  
2 John Degenkolb (Ger) Team Giant-Shimano 0:00:03  
3 Tom Jelte Slagter (Ned) Garmin Sharp 0:00:04  
4 Jose Joaquin Rojas Gil (Spa) Movistar Team 0:00:08  
5 Samuel Dumoulin (Fra) AG2R La Mondiale 0:00:12  
6 Wilco Kelderman (Ned) Belkin-Pro Cycling Team 0:00:15  
7 Carlos Alberto Betancur Gomez (Col) AG2R La Mondiale 0:00:17  
8 Zdenek Stybar (Cze) Omega Pharma - Quick-Step Cycling Team 0:00:19  
9 Cyril Gautier (Fra) Team Europcar    
10 Arnold Jeannesson (Fra) FDJ.fr    
11 Arthur Vichot (Fra) FDJ.fr    
12 Vincenzo Nibali (Ita) Astana Pro Team    
13 Jakob Fuglsang (Den) Astana Pro Team    
14 Rui Alberto Faria Da Costa (Por) Lampre-Merida    
15 Simon Spilak (Slo) Team Katusha    
16 Peter Velits (Svk) BMC Racing Team    
17 Jon Izaguirre Insausti (Spa) Movistar Team    
18 Damiano Caruso (Ita) Cannondale    
19 Stefan Denifl (Aut) IAM Cycling    
20 Jan Bakelants (Bel) Omega Pharma - Quick-Step Cycling Team    
21 Sébastien Reichenbach (Swi) IAM Cycling    
22 Marco Marcato (Ita) Cannondale 0:00:25  
23 Jens Keukeleire (Bel) Orica GreenEdge    
24 Tony Gallopin (Fra) Lotto Belisol    
25 Greg Van Avermaet (Bel) BMC Racing Team 0:00:28  
26 Tim Wellens (Bel) Lotto Belisol 0:00:30  
27 Andre Fernando S. Martins Cardoso (Por) Garmin Sharp 0:00:32  
28 Bob Jungels (Lux) Trek Factory Racing    
29 Gorka Izaguirre Insausti (Spa) Movistar Team    
30 Lars Petter Nordhaug (Nor) Belkin-Pro Cycling Team    

 



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