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Mar 12, 2015 – Stage 4 of the Paris-Nice was the most exciting of the whole tour so far, we saw Team Sky make an all out assault on the peloton with few surviving, yet Etixx-Quick-Step rider Michal Kwiatkowski was able to emerge with the GC lead. Kåre Dehlie Thorstad captured the pre- and post-race action with his lens, check it out!
We have quotes, tweets, and even a little video in the full and developing story on Paris-Nice, and you can Click Here to catch up. If not, below is a quick summary of the day.
De Gendt seizes polka-dot
Three men moved on the gun: Thomas De Gendt (LTS), Antoine Duchesne (EUC), quickly joined by Chris Anker Sorensen (TCS). The peloton were happy to see them go and their lead increased steadily to reach 8:15 at Km 23. De Gendt made his intentions clear by sweeping the points on the first seven ascents of the day to dislodge Philippe Gilbert from the top of the mountain classification. Duchesne was dropped in the 2nd cat. Cote de la Gimond (km 152).
On the descent, AG2R seized their chance to shake off the peloton and raised the tempo, dropping several big names like Bradley Wiggins (SKY), Thomas Voeckler (EUC) and several sprinters like Alexander Kristoff (KAT), Andre Greipel (LTS) or Nace Bouhanni (FDJ). The most serious contender trapped at the back was Poland’s Rafal Majka (TCS) who suffered a front wheel problem at the worst possible time and had to change bikes twice.
Sky take over
De Gendt and Sorensen were caught with 13 kms to go as BMC riders took the reins. At the very start of the final climb, France’s Warren Barguil (TGA) crashed as Astana and Team Sky took the reins. The British outfit steadily increased the pace, sorting out the leading contenders. WhileMajka and Bob Jungels (TFR) were among the first to lose ground, yellow jersey holder Michael Matthews (OGE) faltered with six kilometers to go. Tony Martin (EQS) and Tom-Jelte Slagter(TCG) were done two kilometres further down the road.
Three left for final victory?
Once Lars-Petter Nordhaug and Nicholas Roche had finished their team work, Geraint Thomas decided to part company with the rest of the pack three kilometres from the finish line. He was joined by Denmark’s Jakob Fuglsang (AST) and Slovenia’s Simon Spilak (KAT). The leading favorites slowly bridged the gap and on the junction, behind the red flame, Richie Porte struck back, taking Thomas with him. This last blow was too much to take for most of the other contenders, except Kwiatkowski. American Tejay Van Garderen is now 27 seconds adrift in fourth overall and Jakob Fuglsang 32 seconds off the pace in fifth.