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Mar 13, 2015 – Davide Cimolai surged in the final stretch to steal the show from more renowned sprinters in the 192.5-km 5th stage of Paris-Nice in Rasteau. The 25-year-old Italian perfectly timed his effort to beat a long break involving polka-dot jersey holder Thomas De Gendt was quashed under the red flame, setting the stage for another bunch sprint and an unheralded winner, who had not previously won a World Tour race. Enjoy Kåre Dehlie Thorstad’s Stage 5 Paris-Nice photos.
ASO/Kåre Dehlie Thorstad
Bryan Nauleau (EUC) was the first man out on the Col de la Republique. After several attempts, polka-dot jersey Thomas De Gendt (LTS) went to collect the ten points on offer at the top, taking with him Romain Sicard(EUC) and Andrew Talansky (TCG), two riders eager to avenge a disappointing showing on stage 4. The three reached the top in that order, followed by Egor Silin (KAT) and Pawel Poljanski (TCS), who caught up with them in the descent. The five received the peloton’s go-ahead and their lead stabilised quickly to never exceed 3:40 (km 125) over a pack led by Michal Kwiatkowski’s Etixx-Quick Step team-mates.
Thanks to tailwind, the speed was much higher than in previous days and De Gendt kept collecting points on the day’s hills as Cofidis joined Etixx Quick Step in the chase. Despite the sprinters teams effort, the five maintained their lead, which reached 2:20 at the second intermediate sprint in Cornas, won by Poljanski. Trek Factory joined forces with Cofidis at the front, later helped by Team Sky and the gap had gone under the minute with 15 kms to go.
In the last climb, Cote de Buisson (Km 184), again led by De Gendt, Sicard and Poljanski were unable to stay in the leading group. Talansky also lost ground with three kilometres to go, leaving De Gendt and Silin to battle it out in front. The polka-dot jersey holder went on his own under the red flame, hoping to hold the peloton at bay but he was reeled in 500 metres from the line as Coquard boldly tried to force ahead. The Frenchman moved a little too early and could not find an extra gear when Cimolai upstaged him.