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SAINT-SAUVEUR-DE-MONTAGUT, France (VN) – Matteo Jorgenson had mixed feelings at the end of Paris-Nice’s fifth stage into Paris-Nice, disappointed at missing out on a stage win having got into the winning break, but at the same time pleased to see his good friend Brandon McNulty take the victory. Third place on the day also boosted Movistar leader Jorgenson back into the fringes of the GC battle after being set back by bad luck during the first half of the “Race to the Sun”.
“I definitely expected at the start that the break would go on the opening climb and I knew Brandon wanted to be in it,” Jorgenson explained as he warmed down after finishing third in Saint-Sauveur-de-Montagut. “We had already talked before the stage and he was already going before the climb. So I just decided, ‘Okay, I’ll just go with him.’ We pushed super hard and thankfully made it and then Jumbo I think stopped everything behind, so it worked out perfectly.”
The two Americans spent a lot of time chatting during the stage. “I was telling him he looks fat and that he’s not going well,” said Jorgenson. “But clearly that wasn’t the case. When he attacked, I said to myself, ‘If I go with him, I’m just going to blow up. I’m not going be able to finish this climb.’
“He just attacked super, super strong. So I thought, ‘Okay, I’ll try to ride a little bit behind and see if I can make a selection in the group a little bit. We weren’t working super well and on the final climb guys were really on the limit, so we ended up already losing a good chunk of time. And Brandon was pretty much gone. I mean, once he’s gone, it’s Brandon and there’s not much you can do.”
After failing to make it into the first group in the crosswinds on stage two, then being taken out by another rider when he’d almost bridged back up, Jorgenson’s hopes of emulating or even bettering his eighth-place finish in Paris-Nice last year all but evaporated. But his third place behind McNulty have revived both them and his confidence for the remaining three stages.
“This has given me a boost,” he affirmed. “I definitely knew coming into this race I was in form, but I’ve had some pretty bad luck already – and it also just bad positioning on the crosswind day. But this definitely gives me confidence.”
The last two stages take place on the roads close to his home in Nice, and with the weather forecast to turn ugly over the weekend, Jorgenson is relishing the prospect of the weekend’s racing. “The stages in Nice are really nice, they suit me, and I hear some rumors that there’s snow and bad weather. That can only help me, so hopefully they don’t cancel the summit finish on the Col de Turini on Saturday. I much prefer racing in the cold…”