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"That forced me to stop pedaling for 1-2 strokes and when you lose those pedals then it’s really hard to speed up again. That is where I lost it - that especially cost me the second position.”

Photo: Trek Factory Racing






11.03.2015 @ 20:23 Posted by Emil Axelgaard

Giacomo Nizzolo recompensed yesterday’s poor finish with a third place in the 179-kilometer stage three at Paris-Nice Wednesday.


Michael Matthews won the undulating stage after a textbook lead out from his Orica GreenEdge teammates, and Davide Cimolai (Lampre-Merida) just edged Nizzolo for second. Matthews also took over the race lead with the finish bonus seconds.


“Today the final circuit was very tricky so we had to stay in the front for the last 40kms; [Gregory] Rast helped me a lot to stay there, he was awesome. And in the finale Eugenio [Alafaci] kept me up in the first positions. It was a pity we lost [Gert] Steegmans to mechanicals,” Nizzolo explained about the strong teamwork that led to his top three finish.


“Without Steegmans I just used the train of the other teams, especially Orica GreenEdge because I saw they were the most organized team already yesterday and knew they would be good again today. When I started the sprint a guy from Lampre [Merida] tried to keep me against the barriers; for me that was not a problem and I just kept going, but once I tried to overtake Matthews he closed me there. That forced me to stop pedaling for 1-2 strokes and when you lose those pedals then it’s really hard to speed up again. That is where I lost it – that especially cost me the second position.”



It was a better day all around with a few hills breaking up the momentum and a breakaway garnering more firepower when Thomas Voeckler (Europcar) joined Philippe Gilbert (BMC) and Florian Vachon (Bretagne Seche-Environment) to animate the action out front.


With some serious threats up the road the peloton was forced into action earlier, and the trio were brought back, one by one, with some 10 kilometers still to race.


The undulating nature of the finish allowed three more antagonists to slip off the front, but the lure of another sprint finish was too strong; the sprinters’ teams pulled everything back to one massive group with two kilometers remaining.



“It was better today, more fun,” smiled director Kim Andersen. “ The weather was nice, sun and no wind, but it was a strange start with a few attacks that did not really go. In the end, it was quite a nice race when Voeckler jumped across and made it really hard to catch [the breakaway] back.


“For us we put everything on the sprint. Steegmans had bad luck and he had to come back for service two times in the last 25kms and so we missed him at the end. But anyway, Giacomo did very well, not perfect - only with a win can I say that it went perfectly. But it was a better result for us.”


In a surprise move earlier in the race, Gert Steegmans jumped off the front ahead of the first intermediate sprint with Bob Jungels on his wheel, earning Jungles a potentially important bonus second.  Although it may mean little now, come the Col d'Èze time trial Sunday the energy used to grab a mere second could prove its worth.



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