Egan Wins Paris Nice 2019

Egan Bernal became the fifth different Team Sky rider to win Paris-Nice after successfully defending his overall lead on an exhilarating final stage of the ‘Race to the Sun’.

Bernal came under attack from a host of General Classification riders on the short 110km test around Nice, with compatriot Nairo Quintana the main threat.

However, Bernal’s teammates rallied around him to bring an elite breakaway containing Quintana to heel, which at one point had a large enough advantage to land the Movistar man the yellow jersey, to ensure Bernal won the race, and Michal Kwiatkowski finished third.

Bernal was also the best young rider, Kwiatkowski secured the green jersey for best sprinter and Team Sky topped the team classification to round off an emphatic performance.

The stage started with a large attack with several GC threats present, meaning Team Sky had to work on the front of the peloton from the opening kilometres to keep the group within striking distance.

Ilnur Zakarin (Katusha-Alpecin) was the biggest threat to Bernal’s yellow jersey at this point, but as the break’s numbers – that had swelled to 39 at one point, starting to dwindle, Quintana attacked with 47km remaining.

The veteran Colombian rider had teammates in the initial break who he was able to bridge to before combining with them to create a gap that saw him move into the virtual race lead with 30km to go

This is where Bernal’s teammates worked tirelessly to reel the break in and when eventual stage winner Ion Izagirre (Astana) attacked from the Quintana group on the final climb, it seemed to disturb their rhythm, allowing Kwiatkowski to bring Bernal back to finish in the top 20 and seal a sixth Paris-Nice title for Team Sky.

Egan Bernal gana la París-Nice

Bernal conservó una diferencia de unos 39 segundos con respecto a su compatriota Nairo Quintana, que a sólo 10 km de la meta iba escapado con un grupo, amenazando el triunfo del corredor del Sky.

El polaco Michal Kwiatowski, también del Sky, completó el podio al finalizar a un minuto y tres segundos de su compañero.

Egan Bernal ofreció así a la potente formación británica la sexta victoria en las ocho últimas ediciones de la “carrera del sol”.

En la última etapa, de 110 km alrededor de la capital de la Costa Azul, Quintana pasó al ataque en las montañas que rodean a Niza, de la misma manera que en los últimos años habían hecho los españoles Alberto Contador o Marc Soler.

El líder del Movistar había comenzado la jornada a 46 segundos de su compatriota y a pocos kilómetros de la llegada llegó a contar con una diferencia de un minuto, lo que le colocaba ganador virtual de la prueba, pero Bernal logró limar diferencias gracias a la labor de su equipo, mientras que Quintana no encontraba demasiada colaboración entre sus compañeros de escapada, a los que solo les interesaba el triunfo parcial.

Overall standings
1. Egan Bernal (Team Sky) 29:17:02
2. Nairo Quintana (Movistar) +39″
3. Michal Kwiatkowski (Team Sky) +1’03”
4. Jack Haig (Mitchelton-Scott) +1’21”
5. Romain Bardet (AG2R La Mondiale) +1’45”

The 2019 edition of Paris-Nice sets off in Saint-Germain-en-Laye on Sunday 10 March to arrive in Nice on the 17th. The final weekend is, in theory, spectacular. A huge mountain stage with summit finish at the Turini Pass and the last day serves an explosive out-and-back race in the hills above Nice.

Following a number of chances for the fast men in stage 1 and stage 2 and stage 3, Paris-Nice is testing more demanding terrain in the 4th stage. The race starts in Vichy, moves through the vineyards of Condrieu, and concludes with a bumpy circuit around Pélussin. The Côte de Chavanay – 3.1 kilometres at 4.9% – is crested just before the finish line.Supposedly, the first key moment in terms of the GC-battle will be stage 5, which is an 25.5 kilometres individual time trial in the heart of the Massif de la Montagnette. The route features an intermediate climb to the Abbaye de Saint-Michel de Frigolet, while the last metres are also uphill. Last year, Wout Poels claimed the ITT in Paris-Nice.Stage 6 is far from flat, yet a bunch sprint is a likely outcome. The finish in Brignoles will trigger fond memories in Mark Cavendish, as he won here in the 2009 Tour de France.Stage 7 takes in five intermediate climbs to conclude on the spectacular Turini Pass. It is the first time the peloton confronts this pass in the Race to the Sun, although the Tour de France included the climb to an elevation of 1,607 metres in 1948, 1950 and 1973. The final haul up is 14.9 kilometres and the average gradient sits at 7.3%, while the ascent features 3 kilometres at over 10%.The last stage is identical to last year. So it is a short and explosive race with six intermediate climbs. Col des Quatre Chemins is the ultimate ascent – 5.5 kilometres at 5.5% – before the finale is a 9 kilometres descent into Nice. In 2018, this decor resulted in a thriller of a race with David de la Cruz winning the stage and Marc Soler sealing the overall victory, 4 seconds ahead of Simon Yates.