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Simon Yates concedes Paris-Nice to Roglic following Col de Turini battle

COL DE TURINI FRANCE MARCH 12 Simon Yates of United Kingdom and Team Bikeexchange Jayco cmduring the 80th Paris Nice 2022 Stage 7 a 1555km stage from Nice to Col de Turini 1605m ParisNice WorldTour on March 12 2022 in Col de Turini France Photo by Bas CzerwinskiGetty Images
Simon Yates (BikeExchange-Jayco) on the attack during stage 7 at Paris-Nice (Image credit: Bas CzerwinskiGetty Images)

Simon Yates had started the final weekend at Paris-Nice with hopes of challenging overall leader Primož Roglič (Jumbo-Visma) for the win, starting with Saturday's Col de Turini summit finish.

Despite the Briton's attacking display on the climb, he couldn't make a dent in the Slovenian's lead, however. Instead, he saw his deficit grow from 39 to 47 seconds as Roglič sprinted to the stage win atop the 15-kilometre climb.

Speaking after the finish, the BikeExchange-Jayco leader said that Roglič – seeking to seal victory on Sunday after a calamitous finish a year ago – was on another level on the Turini.

"There's not much you can do," said Yates. "When he's in second gear he's not even breathing and everyone else is panting like they're on their deathbed.

"It's hard to do anything differently. I tried to see what I could do and put a few cheeky moves in, but it wasn't to be."

Yates eventually finished third on the day behind Roglič and Dani Martínez, with the Ineos Grenadiers rider now 13 seconds back in third overall, having gained four at the line he celebrated victory at in 2019.

Rather than looking ahead to Roglič, Yates could now be heading on the defensive against the Colombian climber during Sunday's 115-kilometre thrill ride in the hills around Nice. The race has seen some drama-packed closers and dramatic turnarounds on the last day in recent years, but Yates has more or less conceded that the win is already settled.

"We've had some tough days back-to-back, and I think it's really taken its toll on the peloton now," he said. "We've still got another hard day tomorrow, a short and hard day. I really like tomorrow, it's a good race, it's one of the only days of the year I actually enjoy really getting stuck into so we'll see what I can do, but it's pretty much won already.

"Martínez was really good there, and he's not so far behind me as well so I expect him to make a move tomorrow. I mean, I don't see myself overtaking Primož for the win now, so I'll probably go a bit defensive, maybe."

No doubt Yates, always willing to go on the attack, will try something more on one of Sunday's six classified climbs, even if the tone he struck following stage 6 was somewhat downbeat.

"It's not bad I guess," he said, summing up his stage. "I felt ok, but nothing special how about that? It could've been better; it could've been worse. It was around where I thought I would be."

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Daniel Ostanek is production editor at Cyclingnews, having joined in 2017 as a freelance contributor and later being hired as staff writer. Before Cyclingnews, he was published in numerous publications around the cycling world, including Procycling, CyclingWeekly, CyclingTips, Cyclist, and Rouleur, among others. As well as reporting and writing news and features, Daniel runs the 'How to watch' content throughout the season.

Daniel has reported from the world's top races, including the Tour de France, and has interviewed a number of the sport's biggest stars, including Egan Bernal, Wout van Aert, Remco Evenepoel, Mark Cavendish, and Anna van der Breggen. Daniel rides a 2002 Landbouwkrediet Colnago C40 and his favourite races are Strade Bianche and the Vuelta a España.