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"I did not have good sensations in the legs today - it’s a feeling that I have had since the beginning of the week and I don’t what it is, but the legs just feel tight and blocked.”

Photo: Sirotti








12.03.2015 @ 21:24 Posted by Emil Axelgaard

The queen stage of Paris-Nice ended with Team Sky throwing a big punch that resulted in a one-two finish atop the Croix de Chaubouret summit. 


The pace Team Sky set on the final ascent after a 204-kilometer stage of punishing climbs whittled down the peloton quickly, and when Richie Porte threw in a searing attack two kilometers from the line only teammate Geraint Thomas could respond.


While Porte signified he might be the man to beat for the overall, stamping a big victory atop the climb Thursday, Michal Kwiatkowski (Etixx-Quick Step) dug deep to climb into the leader’s jersey by a mere second, crossing the line in third only eight seconds later.



Under Sky’s punishing pace Bob Jungels - not on his best day - lost contact with the fast-diminishing front group with six kilometers to go.  "I did not have good sensations in the legs today – it’s a feeling that I have had since the beginning of the week and I don’t what it is, but the legs just feel tight and blocked.”  Jungels was clearly frustrated, and although his ambition for a high overall finish was jeopardized today, finishing over three minutes behind, it opens the door for the young Luxembourger to race aggressively the rest of the week.


Riccardo Zoidl remained with the top climbers until the attacks began in the final three kilometers, where he was forced to settle into a more humane pace. He was the first of Trek Factory Racing across the line in 21st place (+1’12”).


“It was a very hard stage, the profile made it look easier than it was,” Zoidl explained, still breathing from the effort. “Until the feed zone it was very nervous, and every climb today was at a very high speed. Sometimes we even went faster than what we did on the last climb. In the beginning, I had some troubles, but thankfully on the final climb I felt better and better. But when they began the attacks I had a little bit of a crisis again. In the end, I paced well and caught some guys like Sanchez [Astana] back. The ending was good again, I just had some bad places in between.”


The race is far from finished with two critical stages remaining for the GC battle, including the final uphill TT on Sunday where all may be decided on the grueling Col d’Eze climb. Riccardo Zoidl sits in 19th place (+1'30") after today, still within reach of a possible top 10 finish.


Tomorrow Giacomo Nizzolo should have another opportunity to better his 3rd place sprint finish in stage three, although a few bumps along the way will certainly soften some legs.



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