Cimolai Takes Stage 5 of Paris-Nice
Davide Cimolai won stage 5 while Michal Kwiatkowski maintained his role as leader of the general classification.
Davide Cimolai (Lampre-Merida) has snared Stage 5 of Paris-Nice 2015. The Italian took a bunch sprint to win the lumpy, 192.5-km run from Saint-Etienne to Rasteau in 4:12:09. Bryan Coquard (Europcar) finished second, and Michael Matthews (Orica-GreenEdge) took third. Michal Kwiatkowski (Etixx-Quick Step) remains the overall leader.
The hostilities started early. Thomas De Gendt (Lotto-Soudal) jumped away on the stage’s first and most difficult climb, the Category 1 Col de la Republique, and Egor Silin and Pawel Poljansky (both from Tinkoff-Saxo Bank), Andrew Talansky (Cannondale-Garmin p/b POC), and Romain Sicard (Europcar) joined the Belgian. Because Talansky had GC aspirations, the bunch kept the break on a short leash, and the escapees never led the field by more than four minutes.
Etixx - Quick Step chased on behalf of race leader Kwiatkowski, but Cofidis joined the Belgian squad with 60 km left. The break’s advantage dropped to three minutes with 44 km remaining and to 1:30 with 20 km to go. With 15 km left and one minute separating bunch and break, Sky went to the front.
Eventually, BMC Racing Team joined the British squad. Sicard and Poljansky were dropped, and then Talansky fell off of the pace. De Gendt and Silin led the field by 0:30 with three km to go. At the one-km banner, De Gendt dropped Silin. The peloton overtook the Lotto-Soudal man with 500 m to go, and Coquard jumped into the lead. Cimolai and Matthews followed the Frenchman, and Cimolai overtook him just before the finish line.
"It was very fast today and nervous," general classification leader Kwiatkowski said after being celebrated on the Paris-Nice podium in Rasteau. "We passed 190 kilometers in four hours and 15 minutes, so that is proof it was a fast stage. But I am really happy with how the team rode for me today. They rode all day in the front, controlling the gap between the breakaway and the peloton, and then they made sure I could safely arrive at the finish."
In the overall, Kwiatkowski leads Richie Porte and Geraint Thomas (both from Sky) by 0:01 and 0:03, respectively. Stage 6 will be a standing shaker. The 184.5-km ride from Vence to Nice will feature three Category 2 climbs and as many Category 1 ascents.
"Tomorrow's stage will feature difficult parcours and bad weather conditions have been predicted," Kwiatkowski explained. "So it's going to be tough. But we are ready to defend the jersey and we will keep on fighting. We will see where I will be in the general classification after tomorrow's stage. I will just try my best with whatever situation there is in the final tomorrow - and then we will see what I can do in the mountain time trial on Sunday."
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