No excuses for Gallopin
Tony Gallopin (Lotto-Soudal) began Sunday’s concluding stage of Paris-Nice bullish about his chances of holding on to the yellow jersey and becoming the first French overall winner since Laurent Jalabert claimed his third and final title in 1997.
Gallopin had turned the race on its head with a canny attack and stage win in Nice on Saturday and held a lead of 36 seconds coming into the final Col d’Éze time trial, but he conceded 1:39 to Richie Porte (Sky) in 9.6 kilometres and dropped to 6th place overall.
“In cycling you can be so good one day and so bad the next,” Gallopin said, according to L’Équipe. “I have no excuses. I was bad. It’s a big disappointment. It’s the first time I’ve experienced a situation like that. It’s a blow.”
Gallopin had been bullish beforehand about his prospects of completing the upset by holding off Porte, but once on the lower slopes of the Col d’Éze, his relative lack of time trialling acumen came to the fore. The Frenchman soon realised that overall victory and even a place on the podium were slipping away.
“I became very nervous. I quickly felt that I was on a bad day,” he said. “I saw that I wasn’t hitting the kind of power I can put out over 20 minutes. It was the first time I’d used tri-bars on a mountain pass, and even on the less difficult parts I wasn’t holding my position.”
Gallopin returns to action next Sunday at Milan-San Remo.
Broken collarbone for Simon Geschke
An unfortunate accident for Simon Geschke saw the Giant-Alpecin rider register a DNF on the cold and snowy fifth stage of Tirreno-Adriatico to Terminillo due to a broken collarbone. Having suffered a mechanical, Geschke was dropping back to the team car for assistance when the accident happened.
A team car collision ended with Simon Geschke breaking his collarbone and injuring his face.
"Face planted a standing car. My nose hurts and my collarbone is broken. This day sucks," Geschke tweeted.
Team coach Rudi Kemna expanded on what occurred, explaining that; "Simon came back to the team car with a mechanical and as we were stopping he hit the back of the car, but at a very slow speed," Kemna said. "Sometimes you come off worse in the small, slow crashes. He felt straight away that it was broken and now that has been confirmed we can start the recover process with him to get back in the best possible way."
After the accident, Geschke was sent for scans which confirmed the break.
"Checks here at the hospital have confirmed what we suspected, that Simon has broken his right collarbone," team physician Anko Boelens said. "We now need to assess whether or not he will need surgery before he can head home to recover."
Pinot laments co-operation on road to Terminillo
Wearing the best young rider’s jersey at Tirreno-Adriatico, Thibaut Pinot (FDJ) blended into the snowy conditions but not well enough for the likes of Alberto Contador (Tinkoff-Saxo) to let him stretch his legs on the climb to Terminillo after the stage winning attack by Nairo Quintana (Movistar).
While Quintana was putting time into all his overall classification contenders, Pinot lamented a lack of cooperation from Contador and Domenico Pozzovivo (AG2R-La Mondiale) and then a lack of freedom to follow the Movistar rider.
Bauke Mollema (Trek) was the only rider able to follow Quintana, finishing 41 seconds down but 14 seconds ahead of the Pinot chase group.
"When it was the three, of us," Thibaut said, "I attacked several times and Contador came for me every time but when Mollema attacked, he did not respond ... "
The team’s sport director Yvon Madiot praised Pinot for his efforts on the one stage summit finish stage.
"Thibaut really worked very well," said Yvon Madiot , "although the headwind to finish was frustrating. Quintana was another level but Thibaut was the most dashing behind.
"It is unfortunate that there was no agreement because it allowed Mollema take second place and a small group back (with Joaquim Rodriguez and Uran particular). And it's a shame that there is only one stage for the climbers in this race ... "