Paris - Nice 2016: Wellens takes stage 7, Thomas wins Race to the Sun

The final stage of Paris-Nice brings 141 kilometres and six climbs. On the penultimate climb Contador attacks and opens a thrilling finale. He comes close, but eventually Geraint Thomas wins Paris-Nice 2016 with a 4 seconds lead. Tim Wellens, who was in the early break, takes the stage at the Promenade des Anglais ahead of Contador and Porte. (Slideshow route/profile)

Results stage 7 Paris-Nice

1. Tim Wellens (bel)
2. Alberto Contador (spa) s.t.
3. Richie Porte (aus) s.t.
4. Tony Gallopin (fra) + 0.05
5. Simon Yates (gbr) s.t.
6. Arnold Jeannesson (fra) s.t.
7. Rui Costa (por) s.t.
8. José Herrada (spa) s.t.
9. Romain Bardet (fra) s.t.
10. Ion Izagirre (spa) s.t.

GC after stage 7
1. Geraint Thomas (gbr)
2. Alberto Contador (spa) + 0.04
3. Richie Porte (aus) +0.12
4. Ilnur Zakarin (fus) + 0.20
5. Ion Izagirre (spa) + 0.37
6. Sergio Henao (col) + 0.44
7. Simon Yates (gbr) s.t.
8. Tony Gallopin (fra) + 0.51
9. Romain Bardet (fra) + 1.00
10. Rui Costa (por) + 1.07

Race report
Despite several early attacks it is only after 14 kms a group of 19 riders is off. Aboard are Bono, Grmay, De Gendt, Wellens, Gautier, Impey, Kiserlovski, Eiking, De la Cruz, Herrada, Kangert, Van Baarle, Felline, Rast, Chavanel, Tankink, Naesen, Sorensen and KOM-leader Duchesne. Trofimov, Vanmarcke and Calmejane bridge the gap after a 20 kms chase.

Both at Côte du Duranus, Côte de Levens, Côte de Chateauneuf and Col de Calaison Duchesne cements his KOM-lead with De Gendt second on all four occasions.

At Cote de Peille Kangert atacks and only Gautier, Wellens, De La Cruz, Herrada and Grmay are able to react. On the lower slopes Contador leaves the pack alone, while his team-mates Kiserlovski and Trofimov are waiting for him. Duchesne, Bono and Tankink hook up. Contador races to a 1 minute lead over Thomas, but just before reaching the foot of Col d’Eze his headstart is gone thanks to a strong team-effort by Sky.

At Col d’Eze De la Cruz attacks along with Wellens and Gautier and a little later Wellens goes solo.

After Majka did put on the afterburners Contador gives it another go with 17 kms left and the only rider able to react is Porte. A little later Thomas is even dropped from the group of chasers, while Contador and Porte join Wellens at the front of the race. When cresting Col d’Eze Thomas is half a minute down. Henao has been waiting for him and together they plunge down. Gallopin hooks up, which comes in handy as he is a good descender.

With 4 kms left Thomas et al catch the first group of chasers and at the Promenade des Anglais he even heads for the front of the race. He doesn’t make it, but neer mind, his brilliant descent proves enough to win Paris-Nice 2016.

Tim Wellens jumps of the front in the dying metres of the race and wins the stage ahead of Alberto Contador and Richie Porte.

Paris – Nice 2016: Route maps, height profiles, and more

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Tim WellensGeraint Thomas

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