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Paris-Nice peloton decimated, leaving only 59 finishers

NICE FRANCE MARCH 13 Simon Yates of United Kingdom and Team Bikeexchange Jayco celebrates winning during the 80th Paris Nice 2022 Stage 8 a 1156km stage from Nice to Nice ParisNice WorldTour on March 13 2022 in Nice France Photo by Bas CzerwinskiGetty Images
Simon Yates, winner of the final Paris-Nice stage, was the sole finisher for BikeExchange-Jayco (Image credit: Getty Images Sport)

The 2022 edition of Paris-Nice finished with the fewest riders on the final classification since 1985, with only 59 riders making it across the finish line of the final stage in Nice.

Simon Yates (BikeExchange-Jayco) won the final stage but was his team's only finisher, while overall champion Primož Roglič, led to the finish by Wout van Aert, had only teammate Steven Kruijswijk as fellow finishers for Jumbo-Visma.

Illness, injury and poor conditions on the final day saw eight riders climb off before the start, while another 29 headed prematurely to the team buses during the 115-kilometre stage.

Even in 2020, when only 17 teams took the race start after seven WorldTour teams pulled out amid the beginning of the COVID-19 pandemic, and two more left left mid-race for the race race, the race saw more finishers, with 61.

On average, over the past half-century, around 95 riders finish Paris-Roubaix each year. In 1980 and 1985, only 58 made it to the finish.

Because the UCI rules for the teams classification are calculated on the top three finishers for each squad, only eleven teams ended up in the team ranking.

None of Bora-Hansgrohe's riders finished the race, with Aleksandr Vlasov – seventh overall after Saturday's queen stage – crashed and abandoned with scrapes and bruises. Sam Bennett, Ryan Mullen and Danny van Poppel also dropped out during the stage.

AG2R Citroen Team, B&B Hotels-KTM, Cofidis, EF Education-EasyPost, and Lotto Soudal each finished with two riders, while Astana Qazaqstan Team, BikeExchange-Jayco, Intermarché-Wanty-Gobert, Israel-Premier Tech, and QuickStep-AlphaVinyl only finished with a single rider.

Simon Yates, second place overall, was on his own after the departures of Lucas Hamilton and Luka Mezgec before the stage and Nic Schultz and Campbell Stewart mid-race.

Mauri Vansevenant (Quickstep-AlphaVinyl) crashed during the stage but made it to the finish at the back of the autobus. Astana's David de la Cruz departed before the stage after falling ill overnight, leaving Fabio Felline as his team's only finisher. Georg Zimmermann was Intermarché-Wanty-Gobert's only finisher.

Riding solo for half of the entire race, Israel-Premier Tech's Hugo Houle had the team bus to himself but still finished 11th overall.

"I don't think I could have done anything better this week," Houle said. "I'm really happy with what I did, just being alone, going all the way to Nice and getting this result for the team.

"That was my way of saying thank you for keeping all of the staff there with me, giving me the best conditions possible to keep the motivation and keep fighting all day, even though it was really hard. So a big thank you to the team for supporting me the whole week. I'm really happy with my race."

While the first four stages went off with the usual handful of riders dropping out, stage 5 saw 23 riders pull out of Paris-Nice as the flu swept through the peloton. Eleven more dropped out on stage 6 and 14 more followed on the penultimate day.

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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.