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Paris - Nice 2014: Stage 7


Welcome to the live coverage of stage 7 of Paris-Nice from Mougins to Biot Sophia Antipolis

147km remaining from 195km

We have a break of nine riders 5:45 ahead of the main peloton. Lieuwe Westra (Astana), Pim Ligthart (Lotto-Belisol) Laurent Didier (Trek Factory Racing), Sylvester Szmyd (Movistar), Albert Timmer (Giant-Shimano), Florian Guillou (Bretagne-Séché Environnement), Matthias Frank (IAM Cycling), Brice Feillu (Bretagne-Séché Environnement) and Cyril Lemoine (Cofidis)

After his second stage victory yesterday Carlos Betancur is wearing the race leader's jersey. He holds an eight second lead over Geraint Thomas. The current top 10 looks like this:

Betancur says that his victory over Rui Costa is the biggest of his career to date and he hope to hold onto it until Nice.

The leaders are on the descent of the Col de Vence. No news as to who crossed over the top first yet. If Ligthart managed to take the full points he will only be one behind Sylvain Chavanel in the mountains competition. Ligthart was one of the members of yesterday's break. He's not known as a climber but he did hold the Vuelta's mountain jersey for a few days in 2012.

Here are the results from the opening climb of the day.

Provided the break stay out front until after the second 1st category climb Ligthart could find himself in the mountain's jersey tomorrow.

140km remaining from 195km

There is little chance of this breakway staying out until the finish today with the presence of Brice Feillu. He is only just over a minute behind Betancur in the general classification and is the virtual leader on the road at the moment.

After a brief ascent, the riders are on their way down again towards to foot of the next climb. While there is a lull in the action, why not watchi this video of riders discussing their biggest mistakes as neo-pros, including Bradley Wiggins meeting Mario Cipollini.

138km remaining from 195km

Yesterday Rui Costa came close to his first victory in the rainbow jersey, before he was denied by Betancur. Here is what he had to say after missing out yesterday.

A number of riders have decided to skip Paris-Nice this year, after they decided to remove the time trial. Andrew Talansky, who is racing at Tirreno-Adriatico this week, was one of those. See what he had to say here

127km remaining from 195km

The breakaway have crested the second climb of the day the Côte de Cipières. Ligthart takes full points again and the lead in the king of the mountains competition. Frank and Feilleu scooped up the remaining available points.

123km remaining from 195km

As the gap closes it will be interesting to see if Westra's presence in the break is a tactical move by Astana. The Dutchman joined the team this year and did a lot of work in the closing kilometres yesterday. Will we see Vincenzo Nibali or Jakob Fuglsang going on the attack later?

It's up again for the leaders for the third climb of the day. The peloton are really motoring now and the gap is down to 3:20. They want to get these nine men under control.

There are a number of neo-pros taking on Paris-Nice this year. Earlier this season Cyclingnews spoke to Bradley Wiggins, Ben Swift, Tyler Farrar and Chris Horner and asked them what their biggest mistakes were in their first two years as professionals. There were some interesting responses, see what they had to say here.

112km remaining from 195km

With Feillu out of the break the remain eight riders have been given some freedom. Their advantage has gone up to 3:40, with Feillu still in no man's land.

The hardest work of the day is done for the leaders, they have completed the second of the 1st category climbs. They now have a 3rd and 2nd awaiting them before the run to the finish. We await the results of the KOM.

That won't be the end to the climbing though. Today's finish has a little stinger in the tail. The final 2km of the stage is uphill and we could see a similar finish to yesterday. Does Betancur have the legs to do it again? Or perhaps Rui Costa might go one better and take that first victory in the world champion's jersey.

Vincenzo Nibali cracked yesterday, but it's difficult to count him out. Astana have been very active over the last few days and we can expect them to do something again today. Their better option might be Jakob Fuglsang, who finished third on stage 5.

Yet again Ligthart takes the points at the top of the Col de l'Ecre. He now has a 13 point advantage over Sylvain Chavanel. He will definitely be wearing the mountain's jersey tomorrow.

102km remaining from 195km

100km remaining from 195km

Movistar rider Jose-Ivan Gutierrez has had enough today and has called it quits with just under 100km to run today.

As there is a little lull in the action, a few notes on some of our escapees. The most notable of these is Lieuwe Westra who finished second to Bradley Wiggins at the 2012 edition. With no time trial here, his work is for him teammates rather than himself. Laurent Didier has had a very good Paris-Nice so far. He launched a solo attack on stage five, but it wasn't to be for the Trek rider. As we've discussed earlier Pim Ligthart has also been a regular attendee in the breaks, which is why he now finds himself leading the king of the mountains competition.

90km remaining from 195km

Paris-Nice isn't the only action today you can also follow Tirreno-Adriatico on Cyclingnews here

The women's Ronde van Drenthe is also on today. Anna van der Breggen and Iris Slappendel lead in the closing stages, despite being lead off course.

78km remaining from 195km

78km remaining from 195km

78km remaining from 195km

78km remaining from 195km

Jurgen van den Broeck isn't the only injury that came from stage 2 of Tirreno-Adriatico. Sergio Pardilla suffered a broken wrist in the same crash.

66km remaining from 195km

While the categorised climbing might be about to finish for the day the closing 40km are far from flat. There will be little chance for the riders to relax here.

Thomas Voeckler is sitting near the front of the peloton with his Europcar team. His had mixed fortunes at this race. On stage 5 he was sent straight out the back on the final climb. He went on the attack yesterday, but he couldn't make it into anything more concrete.

63km remaining from 195km

Ligthart completed his full house of mountain's points on the Côte de Gourdon. He took all 32 points available today. Frank followed him over again, putting himself into second place in the competition.

Europcar's work has done a lot of damage. The advantage has been cut down to 1:10.

Jetse Bol suffers a puncture on the descent. He has a scary moment trying to negotiate a corner and has to hang his leg out to stop him from over shooting. He eventually managed to get himself stopped and gets a wheel change.

53km remaining from 195km

Hushovd is now back with the group. AG2R have sent up a rider to help Europcar with the chasing. The gap continues to fall at a fast rate. There are a couple of sprinters such as John Degenkolb and Bryan Coquard who could also do well on this finish, if they've made it through.

The peloton have the leaders in their sights now and the attacks begin from the breakaway group. Laurent Dider is the first to have a go.

The break has split into two groups. Lieuwe Westra, Cyril Lemoine and Florian Guillou are the only remaining riders up front. The othrs have been caught

44km remaining from 195km

Westra has a 15 second lead over the peloton. It's a long way to go if he hopes to do this on his own.

Europcar take the lead again on this short descent. They are putting a lot of effort in to bring Westra back. His lead is still hovering around the 20 second mark.

37km remaining from 195km

Westra wins the intermediate sprint and is promptly caught by the peloton. The peloton has split with Betancur, Thomas and Costa making it into the small group.

Sky's David Lopez decided to have a go off the front as the peloton become one again. He's been doing a lot of work for Geraint Thomas over the last few days.

Lopez has been joined by about 8 other riders. They have around 10 seconds on the peloton

The new leading group includes Chavanel, Lopez, De Marchi, Hushovd, Zingle and Voeckler

The eight riders barely have an advantage at the moment. The peloton is strung out at they try to keep tabs on all of these

28km remaining from 195km

Chavanel is determined to get away. He's got himself into another break attempt of nine riders. He won't keep his mountain's jersey after Ligthart hoovering up all the points, but he could take a win.

25km remaining from 195km

Of the break riders, Bakelants is the best placed rider in the GC. He is currently down in 8th, 29 seconds back on Betancur. AG2R and Europcar continue to share the work on the front of the peloton.

Europcar are bringing the escapees back to tham. They can see them just ahead, but the twisting road means that they keep disappearing out of view.

19km remaining from 195km

It looks like this lumpy finish is too much for Degenkolb. He has just passed through the intermediate sprint point now, well back on the main group.

As the rest of the breakaway are brough back, Jelle Vanendert has a go, but is almost immediately brought back in.

Again, Michael Matthews has managed to keep himself in contention. He's been riding well at this race. Yesterday proved too hard for him, but perhaps today might be more up his alley. It's a tough ask though.

The peloton are in one big line as they make the catch. There are going to be plenty of riders who lose out today.

Carlos Betancur still has two teammates with him. He is looking much more comfortable in this finale, compared to yesterday. Betancur would be the first Colombian to win Paris-Nice if he can keep the jersey until tomorrow.

Chavanel is relentless today. He attacks once again.

Chavanel sits up and goes back to the peloton. Lampre now setting the pace.

Two Lampre riders sitting at the front, with AG2R just behind. Rui Costa obviously has plans to do something today. He came so close to a victory yesterday, can he do it today?

8km remaining from 195km

4km remaining from 195km

Second place Geraint Thomas has gone down on a corner. Frank Schleck also came down in that crash.

Schleck is back on his bike, but Thomas didn't look to be getting up too quickly.

3km remaining from 195km

AG2R are now on the front and Fuglsang decides to sit up

2km remaining from 195km

Devenyns now on the attack. He was in the break a couple of days ago.

Bardet quickly reels in Devenys' attack and as the pass the 1km to go it's all together again

Coquard won't be contesting this finish. He has been dropped

Betancur is on his own as Bardet drops off

A lot of jostling at the front now

Slagter wins

Slagter looked like he had it from a way to go. Rui Costa had to settle for another second place, he looks dejected. Carlos Betancur finishes third.

The top 10 for the stage is:

Betancur keeps hold of the race lead and with Thomas' crash Costa moves up to 2nd.

That's it for today. See you tomorrow for the final stage of Paris-Nice.

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