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McNulty almost dropped out before Paris-Nice stage he won

Paris Nice 2022 80th Edition 5th stage SaintJustSaintRambert SaintSaveurDeMontagut 1888 km 10032022 Brandon McNulty USA UAE Team Emirates photo Nico VereeckenPNSprintCyclingAgency2022
Brandon McNulty (UAE Team Emirates) celebrates his first WorldTour win on stage 5 of Paris-Nice (Image credit: Sprint Cycling Agency)

Brandon McNulty (UAE Team Emirates) took his third win of the season but it came on a day when he was feeling so tapped out that he nearly dropped out of the race before the start of stage 5 of Paris-Nice.

After starting the year with a victory in the Trofeo Calvia and following it up with winning the Faun-Ardèche Classic, McNulty was the GC leader for his team in Paris-Nice. But the 23-year-old American had a crash and lost touch with the lead group when QuickStep-AlphaVinyl shattered the peloton in the crosswinds on stage 2, giving up 1:29 to the leaders. Stage 3 went even worse as McNulty was dropped on the Côte de le Peyroux and ended up losing 11:15.

So to bounce back and win the first WorldTour stage of his young career was a big surprise for the Arizona native.

"It's incredible. It still hasn't even sunk in yet but I'm so happy. It's my first WorldTour victory but also under the circumstance, since the crosswinds day, I had a crash and just haven't been good," McNulty said.

"I was debating even continuing on or just resetting, so from considering not even starting today, it's incredible."

The stage from Saint-Just-Saint-Rambert to Saint-Sauveur-de-Montagut covered some of the same roads as his win in Ardèche last month and perhaps provided some extra inspiration for going on the attack.

"We did the same climbs. I was at home for a bit, good memories."

McNulty was part of the early breakaway with nine other riders, including fellow American Matteo Jorgenson (Movistar), and after losing so much time, he was no threat to the race lead taken by Primož Roglič (Jumbo-Visma). The breakaway had more than six minutes on the chasers when McNulty attacked on the Col de la Mure with 40km to go.

"It was kind of put everything in for today, just either do it or die kind of way. I got in the break and then actually felt super good all day. I was on the radio on the second last climb and they said, 'this is the climb to do it so if you have the legs, go long'. I went all-in," McNulty said.

By the finish, McNulty had just under two minutes on his nearest rivals - with Jorgenson being out-sprinted by Franck Bonnamour (B&B Hotels), so he had plenty of time to celebrate and let the success sink in.

"It's been a nice start just to have a couple of victories, but they were .1 and .Pro races, so to get this WorldTour victory is special."

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Laura Weislo has been with Cyclingnews since 2006 after making a switch from a career in science. As Deputy Editor, she coordinates coverage for North American events and global news. A former elite-level road racer who dabbled in cyclo-cross and track, Laura has a passion for all three disciplines. When not working she likes to go camping and explore lesser traveled roads, paths and gravel tracks.