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"The last climb was too short and did not suit me too much. Besides, I did not feel my best form today. But in general, the stage was ok for me. I passed the entire climb among the leaders, while at the finish we almost caught two ride...

Photo: Katusha / Tim de Waele








13.03.2014 @ 11:53 Posted by Emil Axelgaard

Katusha keep their options open after the first hilly stage of Paris-Nice. Yury Trofimov and Simon Spilak both finished in the first chase group and are looking forward to the mountain stages to come.


A pair of riders escaped over the top of the last climb in Wednesday’s stage 4 of Paris-Nice and managed to hold their advantage all the way to the finish line. Helping power the chasing group at five seconds were Katusha’s Simon Špilak and Iurii Trofimov.


"The last climb was too short and did not suit me too much," Spilak said. "Besides, I did not feel my best form today. But in general, the stage was ok for me. I passed the entire climb among the leaders, while at the finish we almost caught two riders in front.


"The main thing is I managed not to loose any seconds to other GC contenders. My hope is that I will be ready to fight for a top result on the mountain stages that start the day after tomorrow."


"On the last climb there was a very narrow road, while the group had a really high pace," Trofimov said. "I felt good and tried to stay in front. I passed the top of the climb among the first, right behind the two riders who attacked. On the descent the chasing group was formed and we tried to reach the leaders.


"I tried to attack for myself and to come to the leaders, but the group caught me, and after that we almost caught them. We missed just a few seconds. Anyway, it was a good stage, but the hardest stages are still to come."


The course wound through the vineyards of the Beaujolais region of France under clear skies and moderate temperatures for the 201.5km stage from Nevers to Belleville. On the final climb of Mont Brouilly, a four-man break was brought back as the pressure of the climb started to affect the riders. Cresting the climb first with 14km to go was Tom Jelte Slager (Garmin) and Sky’s Geraint Thomas. The two pulled out a gap to the many chasing groups behind on the technical descent and managed to hold a five second gap to the group including Špilak and Trofimov.


Slager was able to out-sprint Thomas for the win after five hours on course. The second place result gave the race a new leader in Thomas by 3-seconds to former yellow jersey John Degenkolb (Giant-Shimano). Simon Špilak moves into 15th on GC at nineteen seconds as the best-placed rider for Katusha.


Paris-Nice continues on Thursday with stage 5 on a course that includes four rated climbs. The 152.5km route begins in Crèche-sur-Saône and ends in Rive-de-Gier.


Katusha team began racing in Tirreno-Adriatico on Wednesday taking part in the team time trial. Katusha lost 1 minute and 6 seconds to the winner, Omega Pharma-Quick Step and placed 19th.


You can read a preview of stage 5 here and follow our live coverage at 14.25 CET on



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