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"Today was the last chance for sprinters, despite of the serious climb with 12 km to go. Supported by the team I was able to pass the top of the climb in the leading group. Right after that, it was a quick descent and chasing for the b...

Photo: Katusha / Tim de Waele

ALEXANDER KRISTOFF

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ALEXEI TSATEVICH

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KATUSHA ALPECIN

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PARIS - NICE

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14.03.2014 @ 11:44 Posted by Emil Axelgaard

Alexander Kristoff (Katusha) got a great confidence boost ahead of the classics when he finished in the peloton in yesterday's hard stage in Paris-Nice. The Norwegian doesn't see any more sprint chances in the race but is happy with his condition ahed of his major targets.

 

It doesn’t happen often in cycling, but occasionally a late breakaway succeeds all the way to the finish line. Such was the case for stage 5 in Paris-Nice on Thursday.

 

With 9km to go, Jakob Fuglsang (Astana), Bob Jungels (Trek) and Carlos Betancur (AG2R) attacked. The teams of the sprinters initially mounted a decent chase but some disorganization in the group gave the trio just enough advantage to stay away. Betancur took the win ahead of Jungels and Fuglsang in a big win for the 25-year old Colombian at two seconds ahead of the chasing group which included Katusha’s Alexander Kristoff in 11th place and teammates Alexey Tsatevich and Simon Špilak just a few riders back.

 

"Today was the last chance for sprinters, despite of the serious climb with 12 km to go. Supported by the team I was able to pass the top of the climb in the leading group. Right after that, it was a quick descent and chasing for the breakaway group. In the final kilometer I found myself in front of the group and I tried to start the sprint, but it was too early and I did not have enough energy for that. But the main thing is I really feel strong at this Paris – Nice. I hope to hold this shape until the classics races," said Alexander Kristoff.

 

"It was a very hard day for me. I felt the consequences of the crash three days ago. But I tried to do my best to stay in the race and to finish among the leaders. I hope in the next days I will come back in top conditions to help the team and to prepare for the classic races which will follow Paris – Nice," explained Alexey Tsatevich.

 

The 152.5km stage from Crèche-sur-Saône to Rive-de-Gier featured an early break of five riders with plenty of star power. Sylvain Chavanel, Jan Bakelants and Brice Feillu were all stage winners in the Tour de France, plus the first two have also worn the coveted yellow jersey in the biggest race in cycling. It was near the final climb that this group was brought back, setting up more attacks before the decisive move by the breakaway trio saw success.

 

With three stages still to go, Sky’s Geraint Thomas continues to hold the race lead by 3-seconds to John Degenkolb. Friday’s stage 7 is the longest at 221.5km for the 2014 Paris-Nice. It begins in Saint-Saturnin-lès-Avignon and ends in Fayence. It features five rated climbs, including the category 1 Col de Bourigaille topping out at 20km from the finish.

 

In Tirreno-Adriatico the 166km stage from San Vincenzo to Cascina was a sprinter’s stage won by Matteo Pelucchi who came off Andre Greipel’s wheel to take a surprising win.

 

Team director Jose Azevedo reported some crashes in the nervous finale but noted that no one from Katusha Team was involved.

 

“We’re here for a good overall result with Dani Moreno. All of his teammates have protected him very well up to now and everyone is ok,” said Azevedo. Mark Cavendish (Omega Pharma-QuickStep) currently holds the race lead.

 

You can read our preview of stage 6 here and follow our live coverage of the stage at 14.25 CET on CyclingQuotes.com/live.

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