Thursday 12 March 2015 at 18h56

A 3 riders strong breakaway, with Thomas de Gendt (Lotto-Soudal), Antoine Duchesne (Europcar) and Chris-Anker Sørensen (Tinkoff-Saxo), animated the 4th stage of Paris-Nice 2015, the queen stage with its 8 difficulties including the mountain top finish which had never been part of the race before, at the Croix de Chaubouret. When they were taken back in the final part of the stage, the favourites of the race showed up in front, with Team Sky seeming to be stronger than the others. Richie Porte and Geraint Thomas got away together and Richie Porte won the stage. Michal Kwiatkowski (Etixx-QuickStep) finished at the 3rd place at 8 seconds and thus took back the yellow jersey he lost in yesterday's stage, now being 1 second ahead of Porte!

The summary of the 4th stage of Paris-Nice 2015: Varenne-sur-Allier > Croix de Chaubouret - 204 km

The riders reached the km 0 of the 4th stage of Paris-Nice 2015 at 10.21AM at Varennes-sur-Allier for the longest stage of 204 kilometers towards the Croix de Chaubouret. 157 riders came to the start after Sébastien Minard (AG2R La Mondiale)'s abandon due to sickness yesterday.

The breakaway in the climb of the Col du Beau LouisThe first attack came right from the start from Thomas de Gendt (Lotto-Soudal) who was followed in his effort by Antoine Duchesne (Europcar). This leading duo was at the origin of today's breakaway. Indeed, once they were joined by Chris Anker Sørensen (Tinkoff-Saxo), this leading trio created a gap up to 8'15".

On top of the first difficulty of the day, the Côte de Cheval Rigon, Thomas de Gendt took the points ahead of Antoine Duchesne, while the peloton followed at 8 minutes. De Gendt did the same on the second difficulty of the 3rd category in the first part of the stage, the Col du Beau Louis (photo).

At the intermediate sprint in Saint-Priest-la-Prugne, after 59 kilometers in the race, the peloton followed 7'50" after Antoine Duchesne who took the points, ahead of Sørensen and De Gendt.

The breakaway on top of the Côte de Saint-HéandThe peloton then controlled the gap and it slowly decreased, although allowing the leading trio to take the points for the King of the Mountains classification on the climbs in the final part of the race. On top of the Côte de Saint-Bonnet-les-Oules and on the Côte de Saint-Héand (photo), Thomas de Gendt again took the points for the classification which corresponds to the polka dot jersey, ahead of Chris-Anker Sørensen, which allows the Belgian rider to take the lead in the King of the Mountains classification.

Antoine DuchesneIn the next climb, the Côte de Gimond, first difficulty of the 2nd category of this Paris-Nice 2015, the young Canadian Antoine Duchesne no longer managed to follow the speed of his two breakaway companions (photo) and on top of this climb he arrived 50 seconds late on the leading duo where De Gendt again arrived first on top, followed by Sørensen and at 4'15" by Philippe Gilbert, the polka dot jersey during this stage and 7 seconds later by the peloton.

The AG2R La Mondiale team chasingThe AG2R La Mondiale team then takes the lead in the peloton in order to reduce the gap on the leading riders and it melts down to 1'25" on top of the Col de la Gachet where De Gendt continues to take the points, while Gilbert again takes the points as the first rider of the peloton, in 3rd position. They arrived in the same order on top of the Côte de la Croix Blanche at 25.5 kilometers from the finish but the points taken by Philippe Gilbert are not enough to take back the polka dot jersey from Thomas de Gendt.

At the sprint honouring Andreï Kivilev (who died at the hospital in Saint-Chamond after a crash in Paris-Nice in 2003), the riders again arrived in the same order and the gap on the leading duo is down to 30 seconds. When Team Sky takes over the chase on the leading duo, the two riders who were in front since the first kilometers of the race, realise that their efforts become useless and drop back at 14 kilometers from the finish, just before the foot of the final climb.

In the climb towards the Croix de Chaubouret, Team Sky continues to harden the race and several riders drop back at the back of the peloton. With a reduced peloton, Team Sky does what it wanted to do: show the first differences in the general classification of the race right from the finish of this stage. At 3 kilometers from the finish, Geraint Thomas (Team Sky) attacks and the English rider is initially only followed by Jakob Fuglsang (Astana), but there's finally a group of 10 riders in front of the race. In this group, Geraint Thomas finds his team mate Richie Porte and in the end these two riders from Team Sky get away together and climb up to the finish where the Australian rider takes the stage victory.

The classifications of Paris-Nice 2015 after the 4th stage

Here are the classificaitons after this longest stage between Varennes-sur-Allier and the Croix de Chaubouret:


Stage classification of the 4th stage

Here is the top 5 of this stage:

1/ Richie Porte (Team Sky) - 5h18'39"
2/ Geraint Thomas (Team Sky)
3/ Michal Kwiatkowski (Etixx-QuickStep) - +0'08"
4/ Jakob Fuglsang (Astana Pro Team)
5/ Tejay van Garderen (BMC Racing Team) - +0'17"

General classification

Finishing 3rd in this stage, at 8 seconds derrière from the duo of Team Sky, Michal Kwiatkowski (Etixx-QuickStep) takes back the yellow jersey he lost to Michael Matthews (Orica-GreenEDGE) yesterday:

1/ Michal Kwiatkowski (Etixx-QuickStep) - 19h44'11"
2/ Richie Porte (Team Sky) - +0'01"
3/ Geraint Thomas (Team Sky) - +0'03"
4/ Tejay van Garderen (BMC Racing Team) - +0'27"
5/ Jakob Fuglsang (Astana Pro Team) - +0'32"


King of the Mountains classification

Taking the points on top of all difficulties of today's stage except for the final climb, Thomas de Gendt (Lotto-Soudal) takes the lead in the King of the Mountains classification and thus the polka dot jersey:

1/ Thomas de Gendt (Lotto-Soudal) - 36 points
2/ Philippe Gilbert (BMC Racing Team) - 21 points
3/ Chris-Anker Sørensen (Tinkoff-Saxo) - 19 points
4/ Richie Porte (Team Sky) - 10 points
5/ Geraint Thomas (Team Sky) - 8 points

Points classification

There's not much changes in the points classification where only Michal Kwiatkowski (Etixx-QuickStep) took points today and thus climbs up to the 3rd place. Michael Matthews (Etixx-QuickStep) keeps the lead in this classification and will thus switch from the yellow jersey he wore today to the green jersey which Alexander Kristoff (Team Katusha) wore instead of him.

1/ Michael Matthews (Orica-GreenEDGE) - 29 points
2/ Alexander Kristoff (Team Katusha) - 27 points
3/ Michal Kwiatkowski (Etixx-QuickStep) - 24 points
4/ Nacer Bouhanni (Cofidis, solutions crédits) - 20 points
5/ John Degenkolb (Team Giant-Alpecin) - 18 points

The photos of the 4th stage of Paris-Nice 2015

All day long you could discover the photos of this 4th stage of Paris-Nice 2015 between Varennes-sur-Allier and the Croix de Chaubouret on

>> check out all photos of the 4th stage of Paris-Nice 2015 between Varennes-sur-Allier and the Croix de Chaubouret

The video summary of the stage

Tomorrow's stage

Tomorrow, the 5th stage of Paris-Nice 2015 will take place between Saint-Etienne and Rasteau, on a race route which is identical to the one of the stage between the same cities in 2006, when Tom Boonen - who dropped out in the 1st stage of Paris-Nice 2015 - won the stage. This stage will go straight south with 4 difficulties, including the Col de la République, of the first category, right at the start of the stage (its summit will be at kilometer 12.5).

>> see the detailed race route of the 5th stage between Saint-Etienne and Rasteau on Google Maps

door Thomas Vergouwen
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this publication is published in: Paris-Nice | Paris-Nice 2015


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