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"It's fantastic. I came here to finish in the top 10 and  now I'm in a position to win Paris-Nice. It's more than I could expect. But the conditions were pretty favourable. When I saw it would rain this morning, I was...

Photo: Lotto Soudal

LOTTO SOUDAL

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PARIS - NICE

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TONY GALLOPIN

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14.03.2015 @ 19:43 Posted by Andy Pedersen

What a day for Lotto Soudal in Paris-Nice. Tony Gallopin won the sixth stage, with finish in Nice, and is the new GC leader. Thomas De Gendt secured the polka dot jersey and Tim Wellens was part of a long breakaway.

 

Immediately after the official start fourteen riders took off. For the third day in a row Thomas De Gendt was one of the escapees. Lots of attacks followed and fifteen riders bridged to the front, among them André Greipel and Tim Wellens. That’s how a front group of 29 was formed. The goal of De Gendt was to secure his polka dot jersey. The Belgian arrived first at the top of the first two climbs: mission accomplished.

 

After the Col Saint-Roch (1st category) the front group had been reduced considerably. Tim Wellens was still one of the leaders. In the descent about six riders rode away from the peloton, a move initiated by the team of yellow jersey Kwiatkowski. Tony Gallopin joined this group. They bridged to the leaders. On the Côte de Peille (1st category), the last climb of the day, Gallopin attacked and could stay away. The last 26 kilometres, from the top of the climb on, he held on to his advantage. At the finish he even had a sufficient lead to take over the yellow jersey.

 

On the eve of the mountain time trial of 9.5 kilometres Gallopin has 36 seconds lead on Richie Porte and 37 seconds on Michal Kwiatkowski. Tim Wellens had a puncture in the final, but still finished as seventh. In GC he moves up from the eighteenth to the tenth place, at two minutes of his teammate.

 

“I’m really happy with this stage win. It’s an incredible victory, I didn’t expect this scenario. Before the start I thought we would go to the finish line with a group of about fifteen riders and sprint for the win. The weather conditions made the race harder than expected and then there was the big break with Tim. That made the peloton nervous. It rained and it was very cold, but that didn’t bother me. In the descent of the Col Saint-Roch I followed Kwiatkowski and his teammates and we bridged to the leaders,” Tony Gallopin said to the Lotto-Soudal website.

 

"It's fantastic. I came here to finish in the top 10 and  now I'm in a position to win Paris-Nice. It's more than I could expect. But the conditions were pretty favourable. When I saw it would rain this morning, I was rather happy.

"When I saw that Etixx Quick Step attacked in the descent I did my best to follow them. And then I saw that Michal Kwiatkowski was unwell so I decided to go for it. It was bold with nearly 30 kms to go but I know the descent very well. It was hard on the climb because there was a strong headwind and I was on my own. But when I heard that Richie Porte had crashed I gave it another go. 

 

"Paris-Nice is my first goal this season and it’s marvellous that I win a stage here. It has been a successful stage race so far for the whole team with two stage wins, the polka dot jersey and me in the running for the overall victory. The legs felt great today. With five kilometres to go I realized that I was close to the stage win. I gave all I got till the end to have as much lead in the GC as possible. The people in the team car motivated me. I don’t know what to expect tomorrow. It will be difficult against those specialists, but I’ll do my best that’s for sure.

 

"We'll see. I'll give my best. I know Col d'Eze extremely well. I must have climbed it at least 20 times in training this winter. It's not too hard a climb, it's  not exclusively for climbers.

 

"The day I spent in yellow after my stage win in Oyonnax [in the Tour de France] was one of my worst days on the bike. So I first need to recover, have a good night's sleep and hope to have good legs tomorrow.

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