Talansky joins decisive stage 5 breakaway in Paris-Nice
Cannondale-Garmin’s Andrew Talansky took an opportunity to be apart of a five-rider breakaway that formed in stage 5 from Saint-Étienne - Rasteau in Paris-Nice. He was with Thomas De Gendt (Lotto Soudal), Romain Sicard (Europcar), Egor Silin and Pawel Poljanski (Tinkoff-Saxo), and they almost made it to the line. Davide Cimolai of Lampre-Merida ended up winning the stage from a bunch sprint.
The American rider had an untimely puncture on the Croix de Chaubouret, the decisive and final climb on stage 4 on Thursday. He ended up finishing in 37th, 2:51 behind the stage winner Richie Porte (Team Sky).
Cannondale-Garmin director Charly Wegelius said he was pleased with Talansky's performance in stage 5.
“Andrew gave a very strong performance today,” Wegelius said. “We knew it would be an aggressive start and had hoped for a bigger group to move away, but it ended up being five riders.
“Andrew and his breakaway partners managed themselves well and came close to coming away with a win. We're very happy with today's ride.”
Majka's stage and GC ambitions fizzle out at Paris-Nice
Winner of two stages and the mountains classification at the 2014 Tour de France, Rafal Majka's return to France has been much less successful. The Tinkoff-Saxo climber finished in 71st place on the first mountain stage of Paris-Nice, won by Richie Porte (Team Sky), after an inopportune flat tyre at the base of the Croix de Chaubouret. Majka was forced to change bikes on two occasions only for his ambitions for the race to be disappear as quickly as the air in his tyre.
"Today was not a good day for me, since I came here for the GC. My puncture happened at a very bad moment. After the second bike change I tried to get back into the front group again but I burnt a lot of energy in trying to do so, and I was also not at my best today," said Majka. "My teammates helped me a lot and we went full gas to close the gap, but the guys in the front group did the same.
Majka added that he will now look for stage wins in the three remaining days of the race.
"Now, we’ll take it day by day realising that not all days are good and focus on our next goals," Majka said.
Bad day for Kelderman in Croix de Chaubouret
LottoNL-Jumbo's general classification rider for Paris-Nice, Wilco Kelderman, was seen as a contender for stage 4 but the Dutchman endured a hard day in the saddle, crossing the line 1:24 minutes down on stage winner Richie Porte (Team Sky). The Dutchman slipped from 14th to 23rd on the overall standings, explained that he simply didn't have the legs to compete with the top GC guys on the first mountain test of the race.
"I had an off day," Kelderman said. "My legs felt bad in the end and I wasn’t able to reach my normal level. I’m mad about that. Now, I have to change plans immediately, whereas before, I wanted to go for a good general classification."
Kelderman made his season debut at the Vuelta a Andalucia, finishing 19th overall, and is confident of ended the race with another top-20 finish with three stages to come.
"There are more chances to come. A good general classification isn’t longer a possibility, but maybe I can take my revenge in the last two stages," Kelderman added. "I’m looking forward to the uphill time trial, this Sunday, anyway."
Fernández looks the wrong way
Movistar's young climber Rubén Fernández had a moment to forget during stage 4 of Paris-Nice on the final climb to Croix de Chaubouret. The 24-year-old was in the front group when Geraint Thomas (Team Sky), Jakob Fuglsang (Astana) and Simon Spilak (Katusha) attcked with 3km to race.
Romain Bardet (Ag2r-La Mondiale), Tejay van Garderen (BMC) and Fernández were quick in their attempt to bridge across but just as the trio looked to make the catch, Fernández looked over his shoulder to the chasers. As Fernández turned around, he found himself riding into Van Garderen and falling off his bike to end any ambition for a top result on the stage.
Fernández remounted to finish the stage in 17th place, 1:06 minute down on stage winner Richie Porte, and improved his overall position from 21st to 16th.