Lotto Soudal's Tony Gallopin has continued his time trial form in Paris-Nice, finishing third to winner Julian Alaphilippe (Quick-Step Floors) on stage 4, firmly inserting himself into contention for overall victory.
Gallopin was third on the short and challenging stage 4 Mont Brouilly time trial following his win against the clock at Etoile de Bessèges and 10th in the Volta ao Algarve time trial. The Frenchman finished on the podium at both races and is poised to post his best result yet at a WorldTour stage race.
"Ahead of the race, I didn't think I was going to compete for the stage win, but I had hoped to conquer the yellow jersey. Alaphilippe was 20 seconds faster than me and that is a big difference," said Gallopin, who has previously won a stage and worn the leader's yellow jersey at the 'race to the sun'.
"He was the well-deserved winner today and he increases his lead in the GC, but there are enough tough stages left in the second part of Paris-Nice where I can play my part," Gallopin said.
The remaining four stages of Paris-Nice feature ample opportunity for Gallopin to make his bid for overall victory. Stage 6 and stage 7, which features the highest ever summit finish in the race's history, will serve as an intriguing entree before the final stage in Nice.
"The goal I aimed for at the start of this Paris-Nice was a top 10 place and that is still my ambition," he said. "We are well on our way to realize this now. I am looking forward to the weekend that will be very interesting with three different, harsh stages. I am going to give it my all."
Gallopin's closet rivals for the overall podium is Gorka Izagirre (Movistar) at 14 seconds, while Sergio Henao (Team Sky), Dan Martin (Quick-Step Floors), Ilnur Zakarain (Katusha-Alpecin) and Alberto Contador (Trek-Segafredo) are all within one minute.
In his previous appearances at Paris-Nice, Gallopin has finished 10th, eighth, and sixth overall and is well placed for his best result yet.