Saturday 12 March 2016 at 17h14

A 9 rider strong breakaway lightened up today's queen stage in Paris-Nice 2016 between Nice and La Madone d'Utelle. Antoine Duchesne (Direct Energie) was again present in this breakaway, like yesterday, and went off to collect some points for the King of the mountains classification, which allowed him to put on the polka dot jersey at the end of the afternoon. The stage victory was decided in the final climb and a small group of favourites battled for it in the last few kilometers. The rider who won the stage was however probably the one we expected the less in this group, the Russian rider Ilnur Zakarin (Team Katusha). Geraint Thomas ended the stage at the second place and takes the first place in the current general classification provisoire, the day before the final stage!

The summary of the 6th stage of Paris-Nice 2016: Nice > La Madone d'Utelle

The queen stage was on the programme of Paris-Nice 2016 today, starting in Nice and with the mountain finish at La Madone d'Utelle as its final destination . 177 kilometers filled with difficulties: 5 of the 2nd category and two of the 1st category, including the final climb.

The first climb arrived rather quickly after the kilometer 0 and the bunch climbed it as a complete pack, the 7 points on the top of the Côte de Gattières being for Thomas de Gendt (Lotto-Soudal), ahead of the polka dot jersey, Jesus Herrada Lopez (Movistar Team). A few breakaway attempts failed but the right one was signed by Cyril Gautier (AG2R La Mondiale), Niki Terpstra (Etixx-QuickStep), Gregory Rast (Trek-Segafredo) and three riders who were already in the breakaway yesterday or the day before yesterday: Antoine Duchesne (Direct Energie), Florian Vachon (Fortuneo-Vital Concept) and Evaldas Siskevicius (Delko Marseille Provence-KTM). Another rider who was already in the breakaway on this 74th edition of Paris-Nice, Tsgabu Grmay (Lampre-Merida), managed to join the group, followed by Andrew Talansky (Cannondale Pro Cycling) at kilometer 36 and finally Thomas de Gendt (Lotto-Soudal) at kilometer 44.

Antoine DuchesneLike on the top of the first climb, the maximum number of points on the Côte de Coursegoules were taken by Thomas de Gendt, this time ahead of Antoine Duchesne who knew that he could take an option on the polka dot jersey by being part of today's breakaway.

The gap of this leading group didn't really increase that much and at 100 kilometers from the finish it was already down from its initial maximum of 1'40" to 1'20". In the climb of the Côte de la Sigale, Siskevicius and Rast didn't manage to follow the speed of the leading group which was higher than the one of the peloton because on top of this climb, the seven remaining riders increased their gap to 2'05" when De Gendt again takes the points ahead of Duchesne who virtually took over the leading position in the King of the mountains classification.

In the climb of the Côte d'Ascros the peloton led by the Tinkoff team took back some time on the 7 leading riders who start the descent with a lead of 1'20", again in the same order De Gendt / Duchesne. In the long and difficult descent of this climb, 3 riders get away from the leading group with Duchesne, Terpstra and Vachon. Talansky crashes in this descent and has to abandon the race in this forelast stage of Paris-Nice 2016.

In the leading trio, the Dutch Champion, Niki Terpstra, is the first to no longer be able to follow the speed and in the end Antoine Duchesne also drops Vachon and continues solo in the climb of the forelast "côte" before the final climb, the Côte de Levens. The Canadian rider thus logically takes the points, ahead of Vachon who follows at 45 seconds and the peloton at one minute. Florian Vachon was quickly taken back by the peloton and Alberto Contador (Tinkoff) decides to go off from the peloton at the sprint in Levens to take 2 bonus seconds behind Duchesne.

Duchesne continued on, despite his fatigue of yesterday's breakaway and today's, in the Côte de Duranus where he again takes the points, before stopping his efforts and being taken back by the peloton. The rider of the Direct Energie team is thus sure to wear the polka dot jersey tomorrow, with a small advantage to defend in the 6 difficulties of tomorrow's stage.

Michael MatthewsIn this same climb we see Michael Matthews (Orica-GreenEDGE) in difficulties and the Australian rider thus loses his yellow jersey there, knowing that yesterday's stage winner, Alexey Lutsenko, the best placed rider behind Matthews, also got dropped.

Alberto ContadorIn the last climb, towards La Madone d'Utelle, the final explination took place. Indeed, led by Team Sky, the peloton got reduced to about thirty elements with the main favourites of the race (such as Alberto Contador [Tinkoff], Richie Porte [BMC Racing Team], Geraint Thomas [Team Sky], Romain Bardet [AG2R La Mondiale] and Tom Dumoulin [Giant-Alpecin]) and some of their best lieutenants.
At about 6 kilometers from the finish, Rafal Majka (Tinkoff) speeds up to allow his leader Alberto Contador to attack, initially only followed by Geraint Thomas and Sergio Henao (Team Sky) before Richie Porte (BMC Racing Team) and Ilnur Zakarin (Team Katusha) bridged the gap and joined the leading group.

When the chasing group gets closer, Alberto Contador attacks again, mainly to prevent Tom Dumoulin to bridge the gap, but Simon Yates (Orica-GreenEDGE) finally does that job alone at 1.5 kilometers from the finish. In the last kilometer it was Richie Porte's turn to attack, thus bringing the group back down to 4 elements, with Contador, Thomas and Zakarin, before being joined again by Henao. Last year's winner of Paris-Nice paid for his efforts however when Geraint Thomas attacked just before the finish line, followed by Zakarin and Contador. Ilnur Zakarin however does the biggest effort and thus wins this stage on the finish line!

The classifications of Paris-Nice after the 6th stage


Stage classification for the 6th stage: Nice > La Madone d'Utelle

Here's the top 10 of this 6th stage:

1/ Ilnur Zakarin (Team Katusha) - 4h45'11
2/ Geraint Thomas (Team Sky)
3/ Alberto Contador (Tinkoff) - +0'01"
4/ Richie Porte (BMC Racing Team) - +0'07"
5/ Sergio Henao (Team Sky) - +0'10"
6/ Simon Yates (Orica-GreenEDGE) - +0'20"
7/ Mario Costa (Lampre-Merida) - +0'31"
8/ Romain Bardet (AG2R La Mondiale)
9/ Jon Izaguirre (Movistar Team)
10/ Tony Gallopin (Lotto-Soudal)

General classification

Geraint ThomasGeraint Thomas (Team Sky) was thus succesful as well in the climb towards La Madone d'Utelle. Indeed, the British rider takes the lead in the general classification thanks to his 2nd place in this stage.

Here's the new top 5 of the general classification:

1/ Geraint Thomas (Team Sky) - 24h10'26"
2/ Alberto Contador (Tinkoff) - +0'15"
3/ Ilnur Zakarin (Team Katusha) - +0'20"
4/ Richie Porte (BMC Racing Team) - +0'21"
5/ Tom Dumoulin (Team Giant-Alpecin) - +0'32"


Points classification

Michael MatthewsAs some sort of a consolation for the rider who lost the yellow jersey, Michael Matthews keeps the lead in the points classification and he thus exchanged his yellow for a green jersey for the last stage tomorrow:

1/ Michael Matthews (Orica-GreenEDGE) - 53 points
2/ Nacer Bouhanni (Cofidis, solutions crédits) - 33 points
3/ Alexander Kristoff (Team Katusha) - 26 points
4/ Ben Swift (Team Sky) - 22 points
5/ Alexey Lutsenko (Astana Pro Team) - 18 points

King of the mountains classification

Antoine DuchesneBecause he was present in the breakaway once again today, the Canadian rider Antoine Duchesne (Direct Energie) takes over the lead in the King of the mountains classification and he'll thus wear the polka dot jersey during the last stage tomorrow:

1/ Antoine Duchesne (Direct Energie) - 56 points
2/ Thomas de Gendt (Lotto-Soudal) - 35 points
3/ Jesús Herrada Lopez (Movistar Team) - 33 points
4/ Arnaud Courteille (FDJ) - 20 points
5/ Evaldas Siskevicius (Delko Marseille Provence-KTM) - 18 points

The video summary of the 6th stage of Paris-Nice 2016

door Thomas Vergouwen
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this publication is published in: Paris-Nice | Paris-Nice 2016


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