Paris - Nice 2018

March 4-11, 2018, Chatou, France, Road - WorldTour

Complete Live Report

Live commentary by:
Patrick Fletcher

Live coverage of stage 5 of Paris-Nice.


Paris-Nice race hub

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Stage 4: Poels wins time trial


  1. 13:59:41 CET

    Hello there and welcome back to the Cyclingnews live race centre for more from Paris-Nice. Stage 5 today, and the serious hills are starting to appear. They do so, however, only half-way through the parcours, meaning this isn't a big day from a GC perspective but is nevertheless finely poised between the attackers and the sprinters. 

  2. 14:01:55 CET

    As we pick up the action, with 30 kilometres on the clock, we have a breakaway of four riders out front with a lead of 3:45. They are:


    Nils Politt (Katusha-Alpecin)

    Nicolas Edet (Cofidis)

    Jerome Cousin (Direct Energie)

    Julien El Fares (Delko Marseille Provence KTM)


  3. 14:03:39 CET

    Here's what the riders are facing today. 



  4. 14:15:43 CET

    Of the breakaway quartet, El Fares is the best placed rider on the general classification, in 54th place and 4:04 down on race leader Luis León Sánchez. The gap now stands at 3:30 so he's not quite the virtual maillot jaune.


  5. 14:17:08 CET

    The break is about to hit the first test of the day, the Col du Pointu. It's a category 2 ascent, 4km long at 5.1%.


  6. 14:22:30 CET

    A shot of our breakaway quartet from the Delko car



  7. 14:24:35 CET

    A couple of non-starters to report today. Dylan Groenewegen and Lars Boom, both of LottoNL-Jumbo, both have colds and have left the race. Boom was struggling from the start while Groenewegen leaves with a stage win in the bag. 


  8. 14:33:08 CET

    • Red Polka Dot Jersey

    Cousin wins the race to the top of the Pointu, taking seven KOM points for his efforts. If they can stay out and he can do the same at the top of the Cat 1 then he should be in the KOM jersey tomorrow.


  9. 14:33:56 CET

    3:40 is the gap as the riders take on a short descent. 


  10. 14:45:44 CET

    The last time Sisteron hosted a Paris-Nice stage finish, the winner was... none other than Luis León Sánchez, who beat Jens Voigt in a two-up sprint. 



  11. 14:50:26 CET

    The breakaway riders now hit the second climb of the day, the rather more serious Col de Lagarde d'Apt. It's a first-category ascent, 11km long at 7%.


  12. 14:54:54 CET

    The breakaway riders have increased their advantage slightly on the lower slopes of the climb.


  13. 14:57:49 CET

    Our big story today is Chris Froome's reaction to UCI President David Lappartient's assertion that it would be a “disaster” if he were to race the this year’s Tour de France with his doping case unresolved. Lappartient was forthright in an interview with the BBC yesterday, and Froome was none too impressed. 


    Chris Froome: Lappartient should raise his concerns in person – not through the media


  14. 15:03:36 CET

    Another man down for LottoNL as Amund Jansen climbs off and abandons the race. They have just four riders left. 


  15. 15:04:12 CET

    4:30 now for our breakaway men as they near the top of the climb. 

  16. 15:08:43 CET

    Arnaud Démare dropped


    The Frenchman has lost contact with the peloton on this category 1 ascent. His teammates were working on the front of the bunch in the early phases of this stage and they clearly feel he can get over these climbs and win a sprint in Sisteron. Still a long way to go so this is no disaster.

  17. 15:16:26 CET

    The break is in the final kilometre of the climb and Edet has attacked. Cousin goes with him


  18. 15:22:48 CET

    And Cousin takes it again. That's 10 more points for the Frenchman to take his tally to 17.


  19. 15:23:58 CET

    After another short descent the riders will soon head towards a third-category climb. Another point for Cousin would secure him the KOM jersey beyond all mathematical doubt. 

  20. 82km remaining from 165km

    15:25:31 CET

    The two halves of the breakaway quartet have come back together and they forge on with a lead of 4:20 over the peloton.


  21. 15:34:56 CET

    If you haven't had a listen to our latest podcast yet, now's a good time. My colleagues Daniel Benson and Stephen Farrand are in Italy at Tirreno-Adriatico and they discuss the racing and Chris Froome's presence, as well as hearing from Froome, Dumoulin, Kittel, and Bardet. You could also win a retro jersey from Prendas Ciclismo. 


    Listen here


  22. 15:36:42 CET

    It looks like Démare and the other riders that were distanced on the Col de Lagarde d'Apt have all made it back into the peloton.


  23. 15:43:25 CET

    At the intermediate sprint just ahead of the start of the cat 3 climb, Politt takes maximum points, followed by Fares and Edet. 


  24. 15:50:50 CET

    The breakaway quartet hits the Col du Négron, 5.9km long at 3%


  25. 15:55:20 CET

    So, Dan McLay (EF-Drapac) and Edward Theuns (Sunweb) climb off, leaving the sprint field here pretty depleted after Groenewegen abandoned overnight.


  26. 16:01:10 CET

    Cousin is once again first to the top of the climb. A good day's work for the Direct Energie man, who'll be in the polka-dots tomorrow. 


  27. 16:03:10 CET

    A long downhill run now before we reach the finale of today's stage, which features a another short climb in the form of the Côte de la Marquise. A reminder of the profile.



  28. 16:07:06 CET

    Quick-Step and Lotto Soudal both have a man on the front of the peloton as they make their way down this sweeping snow-lined descent. Astana are tucked in behind, protecting the yellow jersey of Sánchez. 

  29. 50km remaining from 165km

    16:07:52 CET

    With 50 kilometres remaining, Politt, Edet, Cousin, and El Farès have a lead of 4:04.


  30. 16:14:31 CET

    Over in Italy, there are 10 kilometres remaining on stage 2 of Tirreno-Adriatico, which is set to end in a bunch sprint. Barry Ryan has live coverage of it over at I won't be offended...


  31. 16:16:40 CET

    Splits in the peloton as Quick-Step and Lotto continue to set a fierce pace on this long downhill. 


  32. 16:18:00 CET

    The peloton is strung out in one long line now. Démare is at the back of it, though we're hearing there's a group of around 25 riders still stuck behind after the climb. One of them is Nacer Bouhanni, who won a stage here with an almost identical finale at the 2015 Dauphiné.


  33. 16:20:13 CET

    John Degenkolb (Trek-Segafredo) is also in that group with Bouhanni. They're only 10 seconds or so in arrears, however. 


  34. 38km remaining from 165km

    16:21:18 CET

    Meanwhile the kilometres are ticking by rapidly. We're off the steep part of the descent but it's still tipping downhill and the riders are turning big gears as the speed remains high. 


  35. 32km remaining from 165km

    16:28:21 CET

    The gap to the leading quartet comes down to 3:45, while the gap to that Bouhanni/Degenkolb group - the third on the road - goes up to 45 seconds. 


  36. 16:29:21 CET

    Marcel Kittel has won the sprint over at Tirreno-Adriatico - his first victory of the season.


  37. 27km remaining from 165km

    16:33:22 CET

    Quick-Step and Lotto Soudal continue to do all the work at the head of the peloton, each with two riders swapping turns. With the road still mostly downhill the gap's not coming down rapidly but it's steadily getting there. 3:15 with 27km to go. 


  38. 16:35:15 CET

    The break will soon be entering the finishing circuit, where the road flattens out and even includes some false flats. The gap should start to fall more quickly as a result. 


  39. 16:40:36 CET

    The leaders are on the finishing circuit and with 19km to go they'll pass the finish line in Sisteron for the first time. From there they'll head out to the Côte de la Marquise, an explosive climb that averages 6.4% over 1.3km. From there it's a short descent followed by another kick up and then a flat final 5km. 

  40. 16:41:52 CET

    Tim Declercq is still on the front of the peloton for Quick-Step, but now it looks like his work is done. 2:20 is the gap with 20 to go.


  41. 19km remaining from 165km

    16:45:02 CET

    Politt, Edet, Cousin, and El Fares come into Sisteron, down the home straight and they take the bell with the gap standing at 2:15. It's going to be close...


  42. 16:45:27 CET

    The peloton passes through the finish line now, with Team Sky coming to the front.


  43. 16:45:38 CET

    Politt attacks from the break!


  44. 16:46:36 CET

    The race hangs in the balance and the break's biggest weapon at this point is surely cooperation. Nevertheless, Politt, the only WorldTour rider in there, surges clear of his companions and tries to go it alone. 


  45. 15km remaining from 165km

    16:47:39 CET

    15km to go and Politt, arms folded over his bars, is panting as he tries to make this work. The other three are sticking together for now and trading turns to bring him back. 


  46. 16:49:01 CET

    Politt hits the Côte de la Marquise and springs out of the saddle. This climb will be key to his and the break's chances. 


  47. 16:49:41 CET

    It's full gas in the peloton, led at the moment by Sky. 


  48. 13.5km remaining from 165km

    16:50:03 CET

    Politt has 20 seconds on his former companions at 1:30 on the peloton. 


  49. 16:50:13 CET

    The peloton hit the climb now. 


  50. 16:50:45 CET

    Diego Rosa sets a strong tempo for Sky. Politt, the big German, is less comfortable on this terrain and is trying to turn a big gear to the top.


  51. 16:50:56 CET

    Cousin hits out from the break now. 


  52. 13km remaining from 165km

    16:52:08 CET

    Cousin is flying up the climb and catches Politt just shy of the KOM point, where he adds a few more points to his collection. 


  53. 16:52:38 CET

    Cousin and Politt begin the descent together. Edet is several seconds back and El Fares is a few seconds behind him. 


  54. 12km remaining from 165km

    16:53:03 CET

    Meanwhile the gap between the peloton and the front of the race is down to one minute


  55. 16:54:42 CET

    Démare dropped again on the climb. He's chasing back on as there are splits in the bunch. 


  56. 9.5km remaining from 165km

    16:55:31 CET

    The leaders finish the descent and Cousin sprints as the road kicks uphill again. Politt is still with him and they still have 58 seconds with just under 10 to go. 

  57. 16:56:50 CET

    Unclear at the moment where Viviani is after that climb. 


  58. 9km remaining from 165km

    16:57:18 CET

    Politt leads the race through the final intermediate sprint but the points mean little at this stage. 


  59. 16:58:09 CET

    'Why you attack?' Politt barks at Cousin. He's hoping for a little more cooperation from here on in. 45 seconds is the gap. 


  60. 16:59:19 CET

    Mitchelton-Scott have taken over at the head of the peloton. They have Matteo Trentin for today's finish. 


  61. 16:59:42 CET

    That's if this comes back together, of course. Right now Cousin and Politt have 41 seconds with 6.6km to go. 


  62. 17:00:41 CET

    'Allez' shouts Politt as he ushers Cousin through for a turn. Cousin won't come through. Politt is incredulous, but he's no option but to continue to ride, as the Frenchman sits in the wheel. 


  63. 17:01:25 CET

    Quick-Step hit the front of the bunch now, Astana just behind. 


  64. 5km remaining from 165km

    17:02:06 CET

    5km to go and now Cousin does a turn, though by the look on Politt's face it's considered cursory. 


  65. 4km remaining from 165km

    17:02:35 CET

    Just four kilometres to go now and Politt and Cousin still have 40 seconds. All in now. 


  66. 17:03:35 CET

    Jonathan Hivert sat tight in the wheels to take victory from a late break two days ago. Could Cousin do the same to give Direct Energie a second Paris-Nice stage win?


  67. 17:03:58 CET

    Politt looks the stronger of the two but he's doing much more work. 


  68. 3km remaining from 165km

    17:04:14 CET

    35 seconds now as UAE take it up. 


  69. 2.5km remaining from 165km

    17:04:50 CET

    This is a real nailbiter. 28 seconds with 2.5km remaining. 


  70. 17:05:05 CET

    Demare back up near the front. 


  71. 2km remaining from 165km

    17:05:39 CET

    Under the 2km to go banner and again Politt has to force Cousin through for a turn. The peloton has them in sight on this straight road. 


  72. 17:05:59 CET

    Politt attacks!


    Here comes the move from Politt with 1.6 to go.


  73. 17:06:16 CET

    Cousin closes it with ease and resumes his position on the German's wheel. 


  74. 1km remaining from 165km

    17:06:45 CET

    Flamme rouge for the two leaders! Less than 20 seconds is the gap. 


  75. 17:07:06 CET

    Just to add to the suspense, the time gaps disappear....


  76. 17:07:23 CET

    Crash in the bunch as a Cofidis rider collides into a tree.


  77. 17:07:43 CET

    Into the final straight and they're not going to be caught...


  78. 17:08:06 CET

    Cousin sprints, the peloton sprints behind, Politt has no response, Cousin takes it!


  79. 17:08:24 CET

    Jerome Cousin (Direct Energie) wins stage 5 of Paris-Nice


  80. 17:09:24 CET

    Wow. What a stage. That came right down to the wire. Cousin played with fire, he played a brilliant game of poker, and Direct Energie have two stage wins from five at this Paris-Nice. Politt looks sick. 


  81. 17:10:20 CET

    Andre Greipel leads the bunch home for third place, two seconds behind Politt, with Magnus Cort fourth and Alexander Kristoff fifth. 


  82. 17:10:33 CET

    Top 10


    1 Jerome Cousin (Fra) Direct Energie 3:57:25
    2 Nils Politt (Ger) Katusha-Alpecin 0:00:02
    3 André Greipel (Ger) Lotto Soudal 0:00:04
    4 Magnus Cort (Den) Astana Pro Team 0:00:04
    5 Alexander Kristoff (Nor) UAE Team Emirates 0:00:04
    6 Christophe Laporte (Fra) Cofidis, Solutions Credits 0:00:04
    7 Matteo Trentin (Ita) Mitchelton-Scott 0:00:04
    8 Mike Teunissen (Ned) Team Sunweb 0:00:04
    9 Matti Breschel (Den) EF Education First-Drapac p/b Cannondale 0:00:04
    10 Koen de Kort (Ned) Trek-Segafredo 0:00:04


  83. 17:24:35 CET

    General classification after stage 5

    1 Luis León Sanchez (Spa) Astana Pro Team 17:45:26
    2 Wout Poels (Ned) Team Sky 0:00:15
    3 Julian Alaphilippe (Fra) Quick-Step Floors 0:00:26
    4 Marc Soler (Spa) Movistar Team 0:00:26
    5 Gorka Izagirre (Spa) Bahrain-Merida 0:00:34
    6 Felix Grossschartner (Aut) Bora-Hansgrohe 0:00:35
    7 Ion Izagirre (Spa) Bahrain-Merida 0:00:42
    8 Tim Wellens (Bel) Lotto Soudal 0:00:42
    9 Sergio Henao (Col) Team Sky 0:00:48
    10 Simon Yates (GBr) Mitchelton-Scott 0:00:48


  84. 17:30:16 CET

    'I didn't steal it'


    Cousin speaks in his post-race interview...


    "The objective was to get in the breakaway and take the KOM jersey, so I spent a lot of energy going after the points on the climbs. After that I wasn’t really thinking about the points on the final climb but I didn’t hold back on the downhill to the finishing circuit. When I realised the stage victory was possible, I quickly went to get up with the Katusha rider.


    "That’s not how I like to win, I must admit, but I’m so generous with my efforts with others throughout the season, so I wanted to play things differently to see if it worked. Today it’s me who lifts his arms. I didn’t steal it, I rode all day and helped keep the peloton at five minutes for a long time."

  85. 17:36:18 CET

    Luis Leon Sanchez retains the yellow jersey for another day. Here's what he had to say at the finish. 


    "That was another tough stage but we managed to stay within touching distance and we continued to hold on. Today I was determined to stay at the front of the peloton and managed to stay in the yellow jersey so we're very happy with our work today.


    "I'm expecting tomorrow to be tough again, of course. Paris-Nice is always decided in the final few days and we've got three stages left now. I've got to go out there and try to do my best. Hopefully we can save this jersey, things have gone well so far. The team is feeling strong, I'm feeling strong and I reckon we can come through that test."

  86. 17:40:14 CET

    Here's the winner's shot



  87. 17:51:37 CET

    One small change to the GC after ASO apparently mixed their timings up. Esteban Chaves didn't lost any time and is in fact still 10th overall. 


    General classification after stage 5

    1 Luis León Sanchez (Spa) Astana Pro Team 17:45:26
    2 Wout Poels (Ned) Team Sky 0:00:15
    3 Julian Alaphilippe (Fra) Quick-Step Floors 0:00:26
    4 Marc Soler (Spa) Movistar Team 0:00:26
    5 Gorka Izagirre (Spa) Bahrain-Merida 0:00:34
    6 Felix Grossschartner (Aut) Bora-Hansgrohe 0:00:35
    7 Ion Izagirre (Spa) Bahrain-Merida 0:00:42
    8 Tim Wellens (Bel) Lotto Soudal 0:00:42
    9 Sergio Henao (Col) Team Sky 0:00:48
    10 Esteban Chaves (Col) Mitchelton-Scott 0:00:48


  88. 17:52:04 CET

    Another yellow jersey and lion for Sanchez



  89. 17:56:42 CET

  90. 17:57:42 CET

    And if you want to read about Kittel's win at Tirreno, here you go...


    Tirreno-Adriatico: Kittel victorious on stage 2 in Follonica


  91. 18:01:42 CET

    Lots of chatter on the social medias about Cousin not deserving the victory and Politt being robbed... Come on, these kind of tactics are part of the beauty of this sport. If you want the strongest guy to win every time then just watch time trials. 


  92. 18:05:03 CET

    There's also a lively debate happening in the comments section of our report page if you want to have your say.


  93. 18:10:37 CET

    That's it for today. We'll have all the fall-out from Paris-Nice and Tirreno-Adriatico as well on the site in the coming hours and we'll be back again tomorrow with live coverage from both races. 


    Here's what's in store in Paris-Nice tomorrow. See you then. 



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