Pogacar Wins Paris-Nice
Sunday’s stage 8 was the final stage of this year’s Paris-Nice. The stage was designed as a short, but intense 118.4-kilometer roundtrip from Nice to Nice. The short route went from Nice and up into the mountain territory and included three category 2 climbs and two category 1 climbs.
Wout Poels (Bahrain-Victorious) launched an impressive solo attack approximately 55 kilometers from the finish, but he was caught by the peloton with 27 kilometers left to ride. UAE Team Emirates took charge at the front of the peloton to protect their race leader Tadej Pogacar and were followed by Vingegaard’s Jumbo-Visma team.
UAE Team Emirates continued to set a fast pace at the front as the riders entered the Col d’Eze climb.
19.1-kilometers from the finish Simon Yates (Jayco-Alula) attacked hoping to make good for a disappointing performance in this year’s race. He was quickly reeled in and then Pogacar attacked while Yates, Vingegaard, Gaudu and co. tried to catch their breath on the climb.
18.5-kilometers from the finish Gaudu attacked from behind, hoping to be able to bridge the gap to Pogacar who was still raising the flag at the front in admirable solo fashion.
Gaudu’s attack failed, and a four-man chase group featuring Gaudu, Vingegaard, Yates, and Movistar’s Matteo Jorgenson was fused in an attempt to pull back Pogacar, who was approximately 35 seconds ahead of the chasers. Pogacar’s lead has been increased to 42 seconds as the riders reached the top and started the downhill chase.
Further behind a second chase group had been formed. The group included Neilson Powless (EF Education-EasyPost), Romain Bardet (Team DSM), Pavel Sivakov (Ineos-Grenadiers), and the Gino Mäder - Jack Haig duo from Bahrain-Victorious.
As the chasing four-man group entered Nice for the final kilometers it was clear that they would not be able to catch frontrunner Pogacar, who had a 42 second lead. The scene was set for tactical racing, as the chasers fought for podium spots, alas behind the winner.
Pogacar crossed the finish line in 02:51:02 as winner of stage 8 and overall winner of Paris-Nice 2023.
Vingegaard won the sprint for second, closely followed by Gaudu.
“I never participated in Paris-Nice before and it was always my dream to win Paris-Nice and now I have completed that goal. They say attacking is the best defense and I know the roads here well,” proud and smiling race winner Pogacar told Roadcycling.com in the finish zone.
“The competition here was really huge and to be alongside David Gaudu and Jonas Vingegaard on the podium is really special, because they are really top-class riders and it’s an incredible podium. I can be more relaxed now, because if I don’t win anything else this season it is still not bad.”
In the general classification Pogacar won Paris-Nice 2023 in 24:01:38. Frenchman Gaudu finished 53 seconds behind the winner, while Vingegaard finished third with a 1 minute and 39 second time deficit.
“It's great to finish on the podium, but Pogacar was just too strong and he showed that again today,” Vingegaard explained before being celebrated on the podium as third place finisher in the race. “I know I have some work to do before the Tour de France 2023 and I will now look at what I can do better. I don't think I'm physically at the level I was in last year's Tour de France, but I wasn't at this time last year either. Pogacar rides really fast and he really deserves all the victories he has won this year.”
Stay tuned to Roadcycling.com for our complete coverage of professional cycling.