This will be a landmark stage at Paris-Nice, where everyone will remember the relentless attacks and a pace that smelled like the Tour de France. The Cofidis team hung in there, and it took a lot of motivation when the group has been weakened for two days. Victim of a fall and then sick, Benjamin Thomas, at the end of himself, was forced to abandon at the beginning of the stage. Max Walscheid, suffering since the day before, held on until the end. At the same time, his teammates tried hard to help their leader, Ion Izagirre, throughout the stage.
A good operation in the general classification
Thanks to the support of Ruben Fernandez and Simon Geschke, he had a good launch pad until the last kilometers to La Loge des Gardes. This allowed him to finish in the same time as many of the favorites: Ion finished the stage 54 seconds behind the winner of the day, Tadej Pogacar. In the general classification, the Basque rider is close to the top 10, 2 minutes behind the leader and 6 seconds behind Matteo Sobrero in 10th place.
A high level performance among the best riders of the world peloton. And a way to conclude a great day for the Cofidis team. Earlier, in Tirreno-Adriatico, it was Simone Consonni who made his mark. Well launched by Axel Zingle in the sprint of Foligno (3rd stage), the Italian sprinter took the 5th place, his 2nd 'top 10' in two days in the Race of the Two Seas.
Ion Izagirre: "The legs are very good and the team did a very good job for me today and I thank them for that. In the first part, we had a lot of wind and stress with the possibility of curbs. In the last climb, we started together with the favorites and I arrived at the top to play around 10th place. The form is good and we will try again in the next days. It's not easy to play in front, Pogacar is very very strong, he has a very strong team around him, but we'll give it our all."
Alain Deloeuil, Sporting Director: "It was a bit stressful from the start with a side wind even though there was no real edge during this stage. I think that the team was concentrated and vigilant around Ion. It was the objective defined in the briefing this morning to get him in the first positions at the beginning of the final climb. He was very well deposited with a very good work of Simon Geschke, Ruben Fernandez, and all the team before. They did the job throughout the day within their means. Ion is going for an 11th place, which is not bad for a first day with some relief."