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Paris-Nice: Christophe Laporte leads Jumbo-Visma 1-2-3 ahead of Primož Roglič and Wout van Aert on stage 1

Christophe Laporte took the Paris-Nice race lead in dramatic style as teammate Primož Roglič gained an early advantage on his rivals.

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Christophe Laporte led home an incredible Jumbo-Visma 1-2-3 on the opening stage of Paris-Nice with Primož Roglič and Wout van Aert rounding out the top three.

The Dutch squad raced away from the rest of the peloton with Laporte piling on the pressure over the final climb less than 10 kilometers from the finish. Zdeněk Štybar (Quick-Step Alpha Vinyl) was initially able to follow but he too was soon dropped and it then became a three-man team time trial as the riders tried to hold the gap.

After initiating what was the race-winning move, Laporte was handed the opportunity to take his first win in Jumbo-Visma colors in just his second race day for the team. Pierre Latour (TotalEnergies) was the next rider across the line at 19 seconds with the main peloton finishing 22 seconds back.

Laporte moves into the race lead with a four-second lead over Roglič due to bonus seconds on the finish line.

“No it wasn’t planned, it was crazy,” Laporte said afterward. “I was going to attack, it was really stretched out. The team was fantastically strong and when I accelerated, I didn’t know that Primož was there. There were four of us with Štybar, I was in the lead and it was incredible.

“If someone would have told me at the start of the day that I would win the stage with three of us at the finish together, it’s incredible. I want to say thank you very much to the team. They told me with one kilometer to go that I would win the stage. It’s a nice gift to have the yellow jersey of Paris-Nice.”

How it happened

With lots of flat and exposed roads, the ever-present threat of crosswinds made for a very tense day out near Mantes-la-Ville. While the profile looked like one that could end in a bunch sprint, the weather conditions would keep the peloton on its toes.

The 159.8km route was not entirely flat with a series of third category climbs littering the parcours. The day would conclude with a finishing circuit around Mantes-la-Ville, climbing the Côte de Breuil Bois-Robert twice.

Matthew Holmes (Lotto Soudal) was the first to pull a gap and he was soon followed by Aimé De Gendt (Intermarché-Wanty-Gobert-Matériaux). The pair was allowed a very small advantage of close to three minutes after 30 kilometers of racing, but the gap was already being pulled back by some nervous sprinters’ teams.

With more than 70 kilometers still to go, Holmes and De Gendt were reeled back in by a fast-moving peloton. The quick pace was causing trouble for some behind, and splits began to appear down the bunch.

Following a relatively lengthy lull, some attacks began chipping off the front of the peloton. Lotto Soudal’s Frederik Frison was the first to get a good gap and he was soon joined by Alexis Gougeard (B&B Hotels-KTM) and Yevgeniy Fedorov (Astana-Qazaqstan).

As the three riders entered the finishing circuit, the advantage was not much more than one minute, and it would soon begin trickling down as the peloton put the pressure on.

They would be brought back with 11k to go but the chances of many sprinters were finished with a blistering pace set first by Mike Teunissen and then Laporte. His pressure over the final ascent was so much that the peloton exploded with him, van Aert, and Roglič going up the road.

Štybar tried to hold on, but he was soon dropped as the three Jumbo-Visma riders began a mini team time trial. With two kilometers to go, the gap was some 20 seconds, and the trio didn’t look like slowing.

The main question was not if they would take the victory, but which Jumbo-Visma rider would be allowed to win. The raffle was taken, and it was new signing Laporte that had the winning ticket.

Laporte led home his two teammates, having helped instigate the move on the final climb. With over 20 seconds on most of the peloton, Roglič has the best possible start to his GC campaign.

Results will be available once stage has completed.

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