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AFP/Kåre Dehlie Thorstad
Dutch rider Tom-Jelte Slagter of the Garmin team won the seventh and penultimate stage of the Paris-Nice cycling race on Saturday. Slagter won a sprint finish uphill ahead of world champion Rui Costa of Portugal and yellow jersey holder Carlos Betancur of Colombia. Britain’s Geraint Thomas, second overall at the start from Mougins, lost ground after a fall 5km from the finish line after the 195.5km stage at Biot. Slagter also won Wednesday’s stage at Belleville, but his title hopes took a knock on Friday when his gears broke after colliding with another rider 3km from the line.
“It was very frustrating because the title was finished for me,” said the 24-year-old. “It was tough to get back on the saddle today but when we arrived I saw that it was a finish which was perfect for. I’m delighted to have won again. It’s the best possible start to the season for me.”
AG2R La Mondiale rider Betancur leads Costa by 14sec before the tough final stage over 128km which includes five climbs in Provence before arriving in Nice.
“It was another difficult day for us,” said Betancur. “I know that I’m close to victory but it’s still a dream.”
Paris-Nice Stage 7
1. Tom-Jelte Slagter (NED/Garmin) 5:00:05
2. Rui Costa (POR/LAM) @ s.t.
3. Carlos Betancur (COL/ALM)
4. Jose Joaquin Rojas (ESP/MOV)
5. Arthur Vichot (FRA/FDJ)
6. Tony Gallopin (FRA/LTB)
7. Stefan Denifl (AUT/IAM)
8. Zdenek Stybar (CZE/OPQ)
9. Jakob Fuglsang (DEN/AST)
10. Peter Velits (SVK/BMC)
General Classification After Stage 7
1. Carlos Betancur (COL/ALM) 32:04:49
2. Rui Costa (POR/LAM) @ :14
3. Zdenek Stybar (CZE/OPQ) @ :26
4. José Joaquin Rojas (ESP/MOV) @ :27
5. Jakob Fuglsang (DEN/AST) @ :29
6. Arthur Vichot (FRA/FDJ) @ :31
7. Cyril Gautier (FRA/EUC) @ :35
8. Stefan Denifl (AUT/IAM) @ s.t.
9. Peter Velits (SVK/BMC) @ :39
10. Simon Spilak (SLO/KAT) @ s.t.