Cycling News

Paris-Nice leader McNulty fends off Evenepoel and Roglič’s challenges on penultimate stage

Paris-Nice leader McNulty fends off Evenepoel and Roglič's challenges on penultimate stage

On Saturday’s chilly, penultimate stage of Paris-Nice, “the Race to the Sun”, American Brandon McNulty did well to cling tenaciously to his yellow jersey. The UAE-Emirates rider defended on the day’s summit finish and leads fellow American Matteo Jorgenson by four seconds, Remco Evenepoel by 36 seconds and Primoz Roglič by 1:21. Hugo Houle was top Canadian in 76th.

Friday’s Stage 6: after the day’s breakaway had been sopped up by the peloton, a high pace whittled down the numbers on the final categorized climb of the day. Visma-Lease a Bike’s Jorgenson attacked, drawing McNulty and Mattias Skjelmose. The trio tipped over the top with a 30-second lead, held it on the descent and then padded their gap over the last 8 km. Skjelmose took the day’s flowers on the uphill finish, but McNulty pulled on the leader’s jersey again after having lost it on Wednesday. Evenepoel was +1:03 and Roglič +1:44.

The Course

Shortened and changed on Wednesday by race organizers who expected snow on the original climbs, Saturday’s fare was simple: a climb to begin the day and a climb to end it, Cat. 1 La Madone d’Utelle, 15.3 km of 5.7 percent. It was a cold, wet day.

Four riders tore loose on the first climb but by 37 km to go, there was a single fellow, Johan Jacobs (Switzerland/Movistar) out front. With his Soudal-Quick Step team pulling, Remco Evenepoel and a teammate tried to flare away. The pace temporarily split the peloton and gave Jorgenson and Visma a scare.

Soudal and then UAE-Emirates kept the chase on to the foot of La Madone d’Utelle. Ineos took over and riders started to get shelled out. Jacobs finally surrendered with 14.3 km to climb.

Again Soudal went to the front of the 24-strong group, streamlining it as the hairpins ticked by. Ineos contributed to driving the soggy slog. A surge for the bonus seconds–Evenepoel picking up two–with 6.3 km to go isolated McNulty. Fourteen riders remained.

Evenepoel attacked with 4.3 km remaining. Most riders were equal to it….

Click Here to Read the Full Original Article at Canadian Cycling Magazine…