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And Bling, Michael Matthews raffles all in the 3rd stage of Paris-Nice 2015

Added: wednesday 11 March 2015 at 17:51:00
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    And Bling, Michael Matthews raffles all in the 3rd stage of Paris-Nice 2015The 3rd stage of Paris-Nice 2015 again saw a breakaway with a rider of the Bretagne-Séché Environnement team, this time the local rider of this stage Florian Vachon, who got company from Philippe Gilbert (BMC Racing Team). They were joined later by Thomas Voeckler (Team Europcar), but the leading trio saw the peloton come back rather quickly in the last 30 kilometers. Little by little they were thus taken back by the peloton and a new leading group didn't manage to stay away for a long time. The Australian team Orica-GreenEDGE then controlled the race and Michael Matthews, nicknamed Bling, thus deservedly won this 3rd stage of the Race to the sun in the sprint.

    The summary of the 3rd stage of Paris-Nice 2015: Saint-Amand-Montrond > Saint-Pourçain-sur-Sioule - 179 km

    The riders reached the kilometer 0 of the 3rd stage of Paris-Nice 2015 at 11.26AM in Saint-Amand-Montrond, and got off for a 179 kilometer long stage towards Saint-Pourçain-sur-Sioule.

    Florian Vachon and Philippe GilbertContrary to the previous stages there were no attacks right from the first kilometers and the breakaway was thus only formed at kilometer 9 when Philippe Gilbert (BMC Racing Team) and Florian Vachon (Bretagne-Séché Environnement), the local rider of this stage, got away from the peloton, Philippe Gilbert's goal of course being to take the points for the King of the Mountains classification where he could take the polka dot jersey.

    Antoine DuchesneThere was a bit more animation in today's stage than during the previous days since Antoine Duchesne (Europcar) and Bradley Wiggins (Team Sky) left the peloton 5 kilometers further. However, Wiggins rather quickly stopped his efforts (see photo) and the Canadian rider Antoine Duchesne also gave up the attempt to get back on the breakaway duo a bit further.

    A new counter attack duo was then formed by Bob Jungels and Gert Steegmans (Trek Factory Racing) but apparently the only goal of this attempt was to allow Jungels to take the 3rd place in the intermediate sprint in Cérilly and the corresponding point and bonus second since he abandoned his efforts rather quickly afterwards.

    The peloton, controlled by the Etixx-QuickStep team, got a maximum delay on the leading duo of 5'20" at about 160 kilometers from the finish. On top of the first of the three 3rd category climbs of today's stage, the Côte de la Croix du Chêne, Gilbert took the 4 points, ahead of Vachon, while they were followed at 2'55" by the polka dot jersey, Jonathan Hivert (Bretagne-Séché Environnement), who took the last point.

    At about 110 kilometers from the finish, the gap was down under one minute and Thomas Voeckler (Europcar) counter attacked. When the rider of the French team joined the leading duo this gave some new energy to the breakaway and their gap thus went up again, to values close to 5 minutes when Philippe Gilbert again took the points on top of the Col de la Bosse. That's how Jonathan Hivert lost his polka jersey of the King of the Mountains classification and the Belgian rider of the BMC team thus exchanged his red/black team jersey to the polka dot jersey tonight.

    Philippe GilbertOn the Côte de Vicq, Gilbert again took the points and thus got himself a comfortable position leading this classification, while the gap on the peloton was still 5 minutes there.

    While the leading trio crossed the finish line for the first time 42 kilometers further, their gap was back to 40 seconds however when Florian Vachon took the points of the intermediate sprint, ahead of Gilbert and Voeckler. Quickly afterwards, Gilbert decided to give up the efforts and Vachon did the same at 10 kilometers from the finish. Paolo Tiralongo (Astana), Romain Bardet and Jan Bakelants (AG2R La Mondiale) then progressively joined Thomas Voeckler who then lost contact with his new breakaway companions.

    The sprinters teams including Lotto-Soudal and Giant-Alpecin but most importantly Orica-GreenEDGE however gave everything they had to take back the new leading trio and at 2 kilometers from the finish, the bunch came back together.
    The Orica-GreenEDGE team then continued its efforts in the final climb towards the finish line (about 300 meters uphill followed by 100 meters flat towards the line), targetting a victory for Michael Matthews, who finally not only took this victory but also several leader's jersey. The Australian rider thanks his nickname "Bling" to one of his best friends who gave him this name when he started riding a bike, after having practiced motocross before. Indeed, in motocross the looks are completely different: there's much more bling and when he started riding a bike he was of course a bit different with his golden necklace and his earrings, hence the nickname. Today it was another explication of "bling", shine, which best fitted Matthews because he not only took the stage win but also the yellow, white and green jersey!

    Michael Matthews's comments after his victory

    Michael MatthewsAfter his victory, Michael Matthews declared: My sprint only really started at about 150 meters from the finish line. My team Orica-GreenEDGE tried to set up the sprint train this way since the start of the week but that didn't work out so far. This time they managed to control the race from about 5 kilometers from the finish and the team did a great job: my sprint was maybe the easiest part of this stage. It feels very good to win here and to take the yellow jersey!

    The classifications of Paris-Nice 2015 after the 3rd stage

    Here are the classifications after this stage:

    Stage classification

    Michael Matthews wins the stageThe top 5 of today's sprint was as follows:

    1/ Michael Matthews (Orica-GreenEDGE) - 4h32'12"
    2/ Davide Cimolai (Lampre-Merida)
    3/ Giacomo Nizzolo (Trek Factory Racing)
    4/ Alexander Kristoff (Team Katusha)
    5/ Jose Joaquin Rojas (Movistar Team)

    The general classification

    Thanks to his victory and the bonus seconds taken on the line, Michael Matthews also takes the yellow jersey of the general classification. Behind him there's not much changes with Kwiatkowski and Dennis still in the same second, 1 second behind Matthews:

    1/ Michael Matthews (Orica-GreenEDGE) - 14h25'27"
    2/ Michal Kwiatkowski (Etixx-QuickStep) - +0'01"
    3/ Rohan Dennis (BMC Racing Team)
    4/ John Degenkolb (Team Giant-Alpecin) - +0'03"
    5/ Tony Martin (Etixx-QuickStep) - +0'08"

    The top 3 of this classification is identical to the top 3 of the best young riders classification.

    King of the Mountains classification

    Philippe Gilbert, new King of the MountainsThanks to his presence in the leading group, Philippe Gilbert (BMC Racing Team) thus took the points in order to take the lead in the King of the Mountains classification:

    1/ Philippe Gilbert (BMC Racing Team) - 15 points
    2/ Jonathan Hivert (Bretagne-Séché Environnement) - 6 points
    3/ Florian Vachon (Bretagne-Séché Environnement) - 6 points
    4/ Arnaud Gérard (Bretagne-Séché Environnement) - 4 points
    5/ Thomas de Gendt (Lotto-Soudal) - 2 points

    Points classification

    Thanks to the points he took on the finish line, Michael Matthews (Orica-GreenEDGE) also put on the green jersey of the points classification, which will still be worn by Alexander Kristoff (Team Katusha).

    1/ Michael Matthews (Orica-GreenEDGE) - 29 points
    2/ Alexander Kristoff (Team Katusha) - 27 points
    3/ Nacer Bouhanni (Cofidis, solutions crédits) - 20 points
    4/ John Degenkolb (Team Giant-Alpecin) - 18 points
    5/ José Joaquin Rojas (Movistar Team) - 17 points

    The video summary of the stage

    Tomorrow's stage

    Tomorrow, the riders will find a 204 kilometers long stage, the longest stage of this Paris-Nice 2015, starting in Varennes-sur-Allier. On the race route they'll find 8 difficulties, starting with two 3rd category climbs and the last 65 kilometers with no less than 6 difficulties, including the final climb of the Croix de Chaubouret, 10 kilometers long @ 6,7%, which will highly influence the result of this 4th stage and maybe even of Paris-Nice.

    >> check out the detailed race route of the 4th stage of Paris-Nice 2015 on Google Maps

    The photos of the 3rd stage of Paris-Nice 2015

    All day long you could find the photos of this 3rd stage of Paris-Nice 2015 on velowire.com:

    >> check out the photos of the 3rd stage between Saint-Amand-Montrond and Saint-Pourçain-sur-Sioule

    by Thomas Vergouwen
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