Slagter wins stage 4 in Paris-Nice

Tom Jelte Slagter (Garmin-Sharp) outsprinted breakaway companion Geraint Thomas (Sky) to win a hard-fought stage 4 at Paris-Nice. Wilco Kelderman (Belkin) placed third at five seconds after attacking from a 27-strong chase group in the final kilometer and just holding off their pursuit at the finish.

The next group to finish, 26 riders at 18 seconds behind Slagter and Thomas, contained overnight race leader John Degenkolb (Giant-Shimano) but with time bonuses factored in Thomas took over the yellow jersey from the German by three seconds. Stage winner Slagter moved up to third overall at four seconds.

The splits in the peloton were formed by the day's final climb, the category-2 rated Côte du Mont Brouilly, whose summit was situated 14km from the finish. Slagter attacked near the summit and crossed the KOM line alone with Thomas a lone chaser in hot pursuit. The Sky Welshman soon made contact with Slagter on the technical descent and the duo worked smoothly together through to the finish line.

Thomas opened up the two-man sprint and Slagter powered around the Sky rider for the stage win, as the duo just managed to hold off the first chase group.

"I know Thomas pretty well, and I knew he's fast and strong - he's a really good rider," said Slagter. "I knew if I wanted to beat him I had to wait and wait, and choose the right moment to sprint or else I'd lose. It went perfect."

The first chase group swelled in numbers from four to more than 20 as the road levelled out in the finale, but cohesion wasn't the order of the day which played into the hands of Slagter and Thomas.

"I can't believe it. It's my first race of the season except for one day in Mallorca," said Slagter. "The first stages were really hectic, you can't really see how good you are. Today was the best possibility to do something. That [final] climb suits me really well, but I didn't expect to win."

Degenkolb crested the final ascent more than 30 seconds behind Slagter, but with only one teammate along side in the second chase group Giant-Shimano didn't quite have the horsepower to keep the German in yellow for another day.

"Unbelievable. Friday before the race started, I was told I was going to lead the team, which was big," said Thomas, the new GC leader. "Paris-Nice is one of the biggest stage races in the world behind the Tour and the Giro. To wear the jersey is great, I'm really happy."

Richie Porte, the 2013 Paris-Nice champion, was slated to lead Sky in defense of his title, but after Chris Froome withdrew from Tirreno-Adriatico due to a back injury Porte was moved to the squad's roster in Italy. Thomas, however, has proved to be a capable GC contender in his own right.

"Coming here I knew I was going well, and was going to play a key role to help Richie," said Thomas. "I knew I'd be thereabouts anyway. With him moving to Tirreno, it was a great opportunity for me, and like I said, it's unbelievable. It's great."

Hilly finale on tap

The riders at Paris-Nice set out from Nevers amidst another day of beautiful weather and faced the hilliest stage thus far in the Race to the Sun. Four categorised climbs were situated in the final 64km of the stage with the fourth and final ascent, the category 2 Côte du Mont Brouilly, the most difficult. The summit of the three-kilometre climb, featuring a leg-snapping 25 percent gradient sector inside the final kilometre, is positioned just 14km from the finish which would prove pivotal in determining the stage outcome.

The day's early break formed 18km into the stage with the quartet of Valerio Agnoli (Astana), Laurent Didier (Trek Factory Racing), Spanish road champion Jesus Herrada (Movistar) and Perrig Quemeneur (Europcar), on the attack for the second straight stage, going clear. Both Didier and Herrada started the day 40 seconds out of the leader's jersey, held by John Degenkolb (Giant-Shimano), and while their maximum lead pushed out over six minutes their advantage had been reduced to a very manageable 55 seconds as Agnoli led the escape group over the day's second KOM, the category 3 Col du Champ Juin at 45km to go.

While Team Giant-Shimano had assumed the pace making duties earlier in the stage, Team Sky came to the fore on the ascent of the day's second climb and stayed prominently on the front through the run-in to the final ascent.

The break rolled through the day's second and final sprint bonus line at 22.5km to go with a 20-second lead, but the Team Sky-led peloton neutralised their escape five kilometres later along the winding, narrow country roads as the final ascent loomed.

On the climb proper AG2R La Mondiale came to the fore at 16km to go in service of Carlos Betancur, while the peloton began to splinter in their wake.

With 15.5km remaining Betancur launched an attack, but his move went nowhere and was quickly neutralised by a fairly large chase group led by Sky's Geraint Thomas.

Garmin-Sharp's Tom Jelte Slagter countered Betancur's move just prior to the summit, and the Dutchman rode alone over the KOM with Geraint Thomas chasing alone.

Thomas bridged to Slagter on the upper slopes of the narrow, technical descent, while an elite 20-rider chase group came together in pursuit of the two leaders.

The chase group wasn't completely cohesive, however, and as the road widened and flattened out a large, second chase group containing race leader John Degenkolb was clawing its way back to the fore and trailed the two leaders by 30 seconds with six kilometres remaining.

Vincenzo Nibali (Astana) pushed the pace in the first chase group, but his efforts came to naught in approach to the flamme rouge. On the now wide-open terrain the first chase group had the two leaders in plain sight, while the second chase group had the first chase group in their crosshairs. The gaps continued to fall in the final kilometer, but separation ultimately remained through to the finish line with Slagter winning big in his stage race debut for Garmin-Sharp.


Full Results

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#Rider Name (Country) TeamResult
1Tom Jelte Slagter (Ned) Garmin Sharp5:00:09
2Geraint Thomas (GBr) Team SkyRow 1 - Cell 2
3Wilco Kelderman (Ned) Belkin-Pro Cycling Team0:00:05
4Michael Matthews (Aus) Orica GreenEdgeRow 3 - Cell 2
5Zdenek Stybar (Cze) Omega Pharma - Quick-Step Cycling TeamRow 4 - Cell 2
6Arthur Vichot (Fra) FDJ.frRow 5 - Cell 2
7Peter Velits (Svk) BMC Racing TeamRow 6 - Cell 2
8Jose Joaquin Rojas Gil (Spa) Movistar TeamRow 7 - Cell 2
9Cyril Gautier (Fra) Team EuropcarRow 8 - Cell 2
10Samuel Dumoulin (Fra) AG2R La MondialeRow 9 - Cell 2
11Rui Alberto Faria Da Costa (Por) Lampre-MeridaRow 10 - Cell 2
12Jon Izaguirre Insausti (Spa) Movistar TeamRow 11 - Cell 2
13Eduardo Sepulveda (Arg) Bretagne - Seche EnvironnementRow 12 - Cell 2
14Tim Wellens (Bel) Lotto BelisolRow 13 - Cell 2
15Carlos Alberto Betancur Gomez (Col) AG2R La MondialeRow 14 - Cell 2
16Damiano Caruso (Ita) CannondaleRow 15 - Cell 2
17Arnold Jeannesson (Fra) FDJ.frRow 16 - Cell 2
18Przemyslaw Niemiec (Pol) Lampre-MeridaRow 17 - Cell 2
19Fränk Schleck (Lux) Trek Factory RacingRow 18 - Cell 2
20Romain Bardet (Fra) AG2R La MondialeRow 19 - Cell 2
21Jakob Fuglsang (Den) Astana Pro TeamRow 20 - Cell 2
22George Bennett (NZl) CannondaleRow 21 - Cell 2
23Sébastien Reichenbach (Swi) IAM CyclingRow 22 - Cell 2
24David Lopez Garcia (Spa) Team SkyRow 23 - Cell 2
25Simon Spilak (Slo) Team KatushaRow 24 - Cell 2
26Vincenzo Nibali (Ita) Astana Pro TeamRow 25 - Cell 2
27Iurii Trofimov (Rus) Team KatushaRow 26 - Cell 2
28Stefan Denifl (Aut) IAM CyclingRow 27 - Cell 2
29John Gadret (Fra) Movistar TeamRow 28 - Cell 2
30Lars Petter Nordhaug (Nor) Belkin-Pro Cycling Team0:00:18
31John Degenkolb (Ger) Team Giant-ShimanoRow 30 - Cell 2
32Simon Yates (GBr) Orica GreenEdgeRow 31 - Cell 2
33Enrico Gasparotto (Ita) Astana Pro TeamRow 32 - Cell 2
34Luis Angel Mate Mardones (Spa) Cofidis, Solutions CreditsRow 33 - Cell 2
35Alex Howes (USA) Garmin SharpRow 34 - Cell 2
36Greg Van Avermaet (Bel) BMC Racing TeamRow 35 - Cell 2
37Brice Feillu (Fra) Bretagne - Seche EnvironnementRow 36 - Cell 2
38Andre Fernando S. Martins Cardoso (Por) Garmin SharpRow 37 - Cell 2
39Marco Marcato (Ita) CannondaleRow 38 - Cell 2
40Bob Jungels (Lux) Trek Factory RacingRow 39 - Cell 2
41Gorka Izaguirre Insausti (Spa) Movistar TeamRow 40 - Cell 2
42Florian Vachon (Fra) Bretagne - Seche EnvironnementRow 41 - Cell 2
43Chris Anker Sörensen (Den) Tinkoff-SaxoRow 42 - Cell 2
44Jens Keukeleire (Bel) Orica GreenEdgeRow 43 - Cell 2
45Jonathan Hivert (Fra) Belkin-Pro Cycling TeamRow 44 - Cell 2
46Egor Silin (Rus) Team KatushaRow 45 - Cell 2
47Maxime Monfort (Bel) Lotto BelisolRow 46 - Cell 2
48Jose Rodolfo Serpa Perez (Col) Lampre-MeridaRow 47 - Cell 2
49Tony Gallopin (Fra) Lotto BelisolRow 48 - Cell 2
50Jerome Coppel (Fra) Cofidis, Solutions CreditsRow 49 - Cell 2
51Florian Guillou (Fra) Bretagne - Seche EnvironnementRow 50 - Cell 2
52Peter Stetina (USA) BMC Racing TeamRow 51 - Cell 2
53Maxime Bouet (Fra) AG2R La MondialeRow 52 - Cell 2
54Alexis Vuillermoz (Fra) AG2R La MondialeRow 53 - Cell 2
55Dries Devenyns (Bel) Team Giant-ShimanoRow 54 - Cell 2
56Amaël Moinard (Fra) BMC Racing Team0:00:22
57Michel Koch (Ger) Cannondale0:00:57
58Luca Wackermann (Ita) Lampre-MeridaRow 57 - Cell 2
59Sylvain Chavanel (Fra) IAM CyclingRow 58 - Cell 2
60Sebastian Langeveld (Ned) Garmin SharpRow 59 - Cell 2
61Anthony Delaplace (Fra) Bretagne - Seche EnvironnementRow 60 - Cell 2
62Romain Zingle (Bel) Cofidis, Solutions CreditsRow 61 - Cell 2
63Fabio Felline (Ita) Trek Factory RacingRow 62 - Cell 2
64Armindo Fonseca (Fra) Bretagne - Seche EnvironnementRow 63 - Cell 2
65Julien Simon (Fra) Cofidis, Solutions CreditsRow 64 - Cell 2
66Sergei Chernetckii (Rus) Team KatushaRow 65 - Cell 2
67Francesco Gavazzi (Ita) Astana Pro TeamRow 66 - Cell 2
68Jelle Vanendert (Bel) Lotto BelisolRow 67 - Cell 2
69Stephen Cummings (GBr) BMC Racing TeamRow 68 - Cell 2
70Bryan Coquard (Fra) Team EuropcarRow 69 - Cell 2
71Alessandro De Marchi (Ita) CannondaleRow 70 - Cell 2
72Pim Ligthart (Ned) Lotto Belisol0:02:32
73Jan Bakelants (Bel) Omega Pharma - Quick-Step Cycling Team0:00:05
74Stijn Vandenbergh (Bel) Omega Pharma - Quick-Step Cycling Team0:03:43
75Alexey Tsatevich (Rus) Team KatushaRow 74 - Cell 2
76Aliaksandr Kuchynski (Blr) Team KatushaRow 75 - Cell 2
77Giovanni Bernaudeau (Fra) Team EuropcarRow 76 - Cell 2
78Jerome Cousin (Fra) Team EuropcarRow 77 - Cell 2
79Reinardt Janse Van Rensburg (RSA) Team Giant-ShimanoRow 78 - Cell 2
80Jérôme Pineau (Fra) IAM CyclingRow 79 - Cell 2
81Fabian Wegmann (Ger) Garmin SharpRow 80 - Cell 2
82Mathias Frank (Swi) IAM CyclingRow 81 - Cell 2
83Cristiano Salerno (Ita) CannondaleRow 82 - Cell 2
84Sylvester Szmyd (Pol) Movistar TeamRow 83 - Cell 2
85Davide Villella (Ita) CannondaleRow 84 - Cell 2
86Sander Armee (Bel) Lotto BelisolRow 85 - Cell 2
87Edvald Boasson Hagen (Nor) Team SkyRow 86 - Cell 2
88Bryan Nauleau (Fra) Team EuropcarRow 87 - Cell 2
89Elia Favilli (Ita) Lampre-MeridaRow 88 - Cell 2
90Grégory Rast (Swi) Trek Factory Racing0:04:15
91Koen De Kort (Ned) Team Giant-ShimanoRow 90 - Cell 2
92Tyler Farrar (USA) Garmin SharpRow 91 - Cell 2
93Ramunas Navardauskas (Ltu) Garmin SharpRow 92 - Cell 2
94Steele Von Hoff (Aus) Garmin SharpRow 93 - Cell 2
95Anthony Geslin (Fra) FDJ.frRow 94 - Cell 2
96Mattia Cattaneo (Ita) Lampre-MeridaRow 95 - Cell 2
97Mathew Hayman (Aus) Orica GreenEdgeRow 96 - Cell 2
98Danilo Hondo (Ger) Trek Factory RacingRow 97 - Cell 2
99Benoît Vaugrenard (Fra) FDJ.frRow 98 - Cell 2
100Imanol Erviti Ollo (Spa) Movistar TeamRow 99 - Cell 2
101Tom Boonen (Bel) Omega Pharma - Quick-Step Cycling TeamRow 100 - Cell 2
102Moreno Hofland (Ned) Belkin-Pro Cycling TeamRow 101 - Cell 2
103Maarten Wynants (Bel) Belkin-Pro Cycling TeamRow 102 - Cell 2
104Matthew Busche (USA) Trek Factory RacingRow 103 - Cell 2
105Christophe Laborie (Fra) Bretagne - Seche EnvironnementRow 104 - Cell 2
106Laurent Didier (Lux) Trek Factory RacingRow 105 - Cell 2
107Cédric Pineau (Fra) FDJ.frRow 106 - Cell 2
108Thomas Voeckler (Fra) Team EuropcarRow 107 - Cell 2
109Sébastien Turgot (Fra) AG2R La MondialeRow 108 - Cell 2
110Rafal Majka (Pol) Tinkoff-SaxoRow 109 - Cell 2
111Mikael Cherel (Fra) AG2R La MondialeRow 110 - Cell 2
112Vasil Kiryienka (Blr) Team SkyRow 111 - Cell 2
113Gert Steegmans (Bel) Omega Pharma - Quick-Step Cycling TeamRow 112 - Cell 2
114Lieuwe Westra (Ned) Astana Pro TeamRow 113 - Cell 2
115Alessandro Vanotti (Ita) Astana Pro TeamRow 114 - Cell 2
116Thor Hushovd (Nor) BMC Racing Team0:07:06
117Simon Gerrans (Aus) Orica GreenEdgeRow 116 - Cell 2
118Romain Feillu (Fra) Bretagne - Seche EnvironnementRow 117 - Cell 2
119Adrien Petit (Fra) Cofidis, Solutions CreditsRow 118 - Cell 2
120Andy Schleck (Lux) Trek Factory RacingRow 119 - Cell 2
121Fabio Sabatini (Ita) CannondaleRow 120 - Cell 2
122José Ivan Gutierrez Palacios (Spa) Movistar TeamRow 121 - Cell 2
123Alexander Kristoff (Nor) Team KatushaRow 122 - Cell 2
124Jimmy Engoulvent (Fra) Team EuropcarRow 123 - Cell 2
125Perrig Quemeneur (Fra) Team EuropcarRow 124 - Cell 2
126Sébastien Minard (Fra) AG2R La MondialeRow 125 - Cell 2
127Mitchell Docker (Aus) Orica GreenEdgeRow 126 - Cell 2
128Matthew Harley Goss (Aus) Orica GreenEdgeRow 127 - Cell 2
129Nelson Filipe Santos Simoes Oliveira (Por) Lampre-MeridaRow 128 - Cell 2
130Jos van Emden (Ned) Belkin-Pro Cycling TeamRow 129 - Cell 2
131Jetse Bol (Ned) Belkin-Pro Cycling TeamRow 130 - Cell 2
132Niki Terpstra (Ned) Omega Pharma - Quick-Step Cycling TeamRow 131 - Cell 2
133Nikolas Maes (Bel) Omega Pharma - Quick-Step Cycling TeamRow 132 - Cell 2
134Valerio Agnoli (Ita) Astana Pro TeamRow 133 - Cell 2
135Cyril Lemoine (Fra) Cofidis, Solutions CreditsRow 134 - Cell 2
136Jesus Herrada Lopez (Spa) Movistar Team0:08:13
137Taylor Phinney (USA) BMC Racing Team0:08:14
138Nikolay Trusov (Rus) Tinkoff-Saxo0:09:55
139Vladimir Isaychev (Rus) Team KatushaRow 138 - Cell 2
140Thierry Hupond (Fra) Team Giant-ShimanoRow 139 - Cell 2
141Nacer Bouhanni (Fra) FDJ.frRow 140 - Cell 2
142Geoffrey Soupe (Fra) FDJ.frRow 141 - Cell 2
143Sébastien Chavanel (Fra) FDJ.frRow 142 - Cell 2
144Egoitz Garcia Echeguibel (Spa) Cofidis, Solutions CreditsRow 143 - Cell 2
145Sébastien Hinault (Fra) IAM CyclingRow 144 - Cell 2
146Christian Knees (Ger) Team SkyRow 145 - Cell 2
147Xabier Zandio Echaide (Spa) Team SkyRow 146 - Cell 2
148Ramon Sinkeldam (Ned) Team Giant-ShimanoRow 147 - Cell 2
149Luke Rowe (GBr) Team SkyRow 148 - Cell 2
150Albert Timmer (Ned) Team Giant-ShimanoRow 149 - Cell 2
151Bert De Backer (Bel) Team Giant-ShimanoRow 150 - Cell 2
152Gabriel Rasch (Nor) Team SkyRow 151 - Cell 2
153Michael Albasini (Swi) Orica GreenEdgeRow 152 - Cell 2
154Lars Ytting Bak (Den) Lotto BelisolRow 153 - Cell 2
155Nicki Sörensen (Den) Tinkoff-SaxoRow 154 - Cell 2
156Matteo Bono (Ita) Lampre-MeridaRow 155 - Cell 2
157Julien Fouchard (Fra) Cofidis, Solutions CreditsRow 156 - Cell 2
158Ivan Rovny (Rus) Tinkoff-SaxoRow 157 - Cell 2
159Karsten Kroon (Ned) Tinkoff-SaxoRow 158 - Cell 2
160Marko Kump (Slo) Tinkoff-SaxoRow 159 - Cell 2
161Borut Bozic (Slo) Astana Pro TeamRow 160 - Cell 2