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Paris-Nice Stage 4 Preview

Today’s stage features a surprisingly hilly finish with steep, twisting climbs through vineyards but not everything is different with the weather forecast warning of a storm and the wind could get up.

Bennett won: a sprint win for Sam Bennett, on a team with Peter Sagan and Pascal Ackermann he doesn’t get many opportunities but he’s taken a stage. Michał Kwiatkowski and Egan Bernal keep going for the time bonuses and Fabio Aru abandoned, complaining of nausea.

The Route: 212km and things get hilly from the start as they cross the Forez, a hilly, wooded part of France.

  • The climb to Trèves is 3km at 5% and a steady climb on a wide road but marks the start of the action
  • With 45km to go we get the Côte de Condrieu – La Caille to locals – is a steep climb of 1.9km at 8.5% but with some long ramps at 10-12% as it twists though the Condrieu vineyards via hairpin bends and crucially the road continues to climb well beyond the KoM point, it’s just not as steep after
  • There’s then a descent back down to the Rhone valley and no sooner do they reach the valley does it climb up again through the vineyards, 3km at 6.6% and with some 7-8% early on

At the top they reach the finishing circuit and 8km later they cross the finish line in Pélussin once and head out for a 20km loop first via a fast descent on a wide road which ends in a dead turn before the road climbs up through more vineyards for a climb marked as 3km at 5% but it’s really 2km at 7% before the slope levels off and the road drags around to the finish on the roads used half an hour ago. The finishing straight is a slight drag uphill.

The Contenders: the time trial stage comes next so some riders might prefer to hold back. Otherwise Michał Kwiatkowski (Team Sky) is a prototype rider for today’s stage, at ease on the short climbs and able to sprint well from a small group. It’s hard to pick among a large field but some some suggestions…

Luis Leon Sanchez (Astana) took the yellow jersey a year ago after a similar hilly finish but he made a crafty move just before the descent, today’s stage is more up and down so he’s a contender but it won’t be so easy. Diego Ulissi (UAE Emirates) could be good for a stage like this but has yet to look convincing this season. George Bennett (Jumbo Visma) might find the circuit and especially the finish too flat.

Rudy Molard won a stage of Paris-Nice last year and could thrive again, also watch Groupama-FDJ team mate Valentin Madouas who may not triumph today but is due a big win sometime.

Matteo Trentin is probably the best sprinter for this course ahead of Bryan Coquard (Vital Concept) and Sam Bennett (Bora-Hansgrohe). On paper it looks too hilly but if the finale fireworks prove damp then Trentin is the pick. Otherwise Mitchelton-Scott team mate Simon Yates is almost 10 minutes down on GC and so has room to go on the attack here, unless he stays back to shepherd Jack Haig who is still in contention overall.

Thomas De Gendt (Lotto-Soudal) doesn’t have the punch to go late but could try a long range move. Arthur Vichot is a contender but the Vital Concept rider is a rare winner while Tour de France wildcard rival Lilian Calmejane (Direct Energie) will have been waiting for today.

Michał Kwiatkowski
Simon Yates, Bob Jungels, L-L Sanchez
Trentin, Calmejane, Ulissi, Teuns, Gallopin, Gilbert, Madouas

Weather: cool conditions and a top temperature of 11°C and tailwind. Things could get lively towards the end with the forecast warning of thunder storms which could bring hail and gusting winds.

TV: the finish is forecast for 4.30pm Euro time. It should be available on the same channel you watch the Tour de France and/or Eurosport. If not then cyclingfans and steephill.tv have schedules and streams.

Comments on this entry are closed.

  • Ecky Thump Wednesday, 13 March 2019, 6:47 am

    1. A ‘traiteur’ is not what I thought it may be at all.
    2. There’s still an awful lot of littering going on, with bidons and wrappers discarded at will unfortunately.
    3. That horrible tangle of bikes and riders on the pinch-point bridge; can something not be done to forewarn the riders of obvious hazards like this? It was in a very rural setting but could there have been a steward with flag and whistle, or a parked moto with a flashing light?
    4. It’s still a fantastic race.

    • UHJ Wednesday, 13 March 2019, 9:30 am

      Ad. 3,
      The route is walked through during the DS’ meeting and the organiser normally uses this to point out difficult/dangerous parts and obstacles underways. It is then expected that the DSs go tell their riders about this. That rarely happens. Also the technical guide on the race will have the route spelled out, again with these parts and point marked specifically.
      Additionally, if the part/point is considered very difficult or dangerous to navigate, the race director will issue a reminder over Radio Tour when the riders are approaching.
      Finally, these parts/points will be marked with persons waving a yellow flag and using a whistle – for the most. This can be difficult to ensure at every twist and turn; security personnel can have a hard time negotiating side roads and public to get there in time, for instance when the speed is as high as during stage 2.
      Basically, that is all that is done and – apart from neutralising – all that can be done.

      • Ecky Thump Wednesday, 13 March 2019, 12:07 pm

        Merci UHJ.

        • UHJ Wednesday, 13 March 2019, 12:32 pm

          De nada… 😉

  • RQS Wednesday, 13 March 2019, 7:30 am

    It’s looking ominous for Sky at the moment. They’re strong and in contention for the overall.

    • JeroenK Wednesday, 13 March 2019, 10:08 am

      It struck me how much energy Kwia and Bernal themselves put into yesterday’s final for no gain. Will that catch up with them? Offcourse, that’s hindsight, but with such a large peleton left and the last kilometers of the stages covered from wind by a city, it seemed like a failed attempt to begin with. Kudos for trying though. A 60 kg Bernal taking initiative it in the crosswinds is as far away from the image of the ‘Sky robots’ killing the racing you can get.

  • StevhanTI Wednesday, 13 March 2019, 8:55 am

    I think Thomas DG may be sitting this one out, he’s going for all three GT’s this year so I doubt whether he’s in top form already. But he’s prone to surprise the fans so who knows.

    I’m rooting for Dylan Teuns today, we need that third Dylan win 😉

  • DJS Wednesday, 13 March 2019, 10:13 am

    Speaking of putting energy into finals, the way Groenewegen stopped sprinting yesterday clearly showed how hard the previous two days (especially making the small lead group on day 2) have been.

    • StevhanTI Wednesday, 13 March 2019, 10:53 am

      Yeah, and between Groenewegen’s sudden death and Caleb Ewan’s handy swerve Jakobsen may have lost a proper chance to the win, regardless of which Bennett was very strong plus the craftiest wheel-jumper in the final kms so definitely a deserved win for him.

  • Phonak Wednesday, 13 March 2019, 10:51 am

    What about Dylan Teuns today ?

  • Paul Wednesday, 13 March 2019, 2:19 pm

    What is it with Aru I know its early in the season but ……..