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Paris - Nice 2015: Stage 7

Hello and welcome to our live coverage from the final stage of Paris-Nice.

The final day. The final test. Paris - Nice comes down to a 9.5km individual time trial up the Col d'Èze with everything still to play for.

Tony Gallopin (Lotto Soudal) holds a 36 second lead over Richie Porte in GC with former race leader Michal Kwiatkowski (Etixx - Quick-Step) a further second down.

 

1 Tony Gallopin (Fra) Lotto Soudal 28:49:42
2 Richie Porte (Aus) Team Sky 0:00:36
3 Michal Kwiatkowski (Pol) Etixx - Quick-Step 0:00:37
4 Geraint Thomas (GBr) Team Sky 0:00:38
5 Jakob Fuglsang (Den) Astana Pro Team
6 Rui Costa (Por) Lampre-Merida 0:00:42
7 Simon Spilak (Slo) Team Katusha 0:00:53
8 Rafael Valls Ferri (Spa) Lampre-Merida 0:01:01
9 Gorka Izagirre (Spa) Movistar Team 0:01:19
10 Tim Wellens (Bel) Lotto Soudal 0:02:00

38 riders have already finished the stage and Kristoff currently leads but the biggest news from this morning is that former Paris-Nice winner and record holder for the climb, Bradley Wiggins hasn't started.

Majka, who hasn't been in contention this week, will start his TT in the next few minutes. He may set an important time for stage given his strengths, and a possible indication on how the likes of Porte and Kwiatkowski will go.

Interestingly Kwiatkowski sat up as he crossed the line yesterday, effectively losing two seconds to Porte. It means the Pole, who won the prologue, will start his TT behind the Australian.

As for indications: two years ago Porte destroyed the field on the same climb and sealed the overall win in the race. That day he put close to two minutes into Gallopin. Different times, a different scenario but there's no question that Porte starts today as favourite. However we dont know how much yesterday's crash has taken out of him and Kwiatkowski is no slouch against the clock.

De Gendt and Majka are both out on the road and at the moment it's the Belgian who leads at the first time check of the day. At the finish, Paulinho is now the fastest with a time of 21:56.

If he can hold this pace De Gendt will move into the hot seat. The Belgian has been on fire this week and will finish with the KOM jersey for his efforts. He's been the most aggressive rider throughout the week and Sergeant will be pleased with how his new signing has settled in.

And De Gendt goes quickest, in a time of 21' 19'' a full 23 seconds faster than the 2014 Tour de France KOM winning Majka.

Just over 40 riders remaining in the start house with rain falling out on the course. Gallopin, all eyes on him in the yellow jersey after yesterday's impressive ride. He took the fight to Team Sky and Etixx and exploited a few weaknesses.

But despite falls for Porte and Thomas, Team Sky remain favourites to take the overall win. Porte, as we've seen, is on form and although he lost 15 seconds to Kwiatkowski in the prologue this is a different test.

Right now it's former world TT champion, Tony Martin who is out on the course. So too is Andrew Talansky who hasn't found his form in this race.

De Gendt still leads at the finish as we see Martin churn out a large gear on his TT Shiv bike. The rain is coming down and there's headwind so no record times for today as Talansky settles into his position before a stint out of the saddle.

And Talansky is fastest at the intermediate check, nine seconds up on De Gendt. The American needs a morale-boosting performance after what's been a difficult week for him and his team.

The American is in full flight now a gentler section but the wind is picking up as he heads over the line in 21:00, 18 seconds faster than the short-lived race leader Rein Taaramae.

Over in Tirreno you can catch up with yesterday's action, right here.

Talansky still leads as we see Martin - he's not moved his shoulders once yet - continue to grind out a gear on the slopes of the climb. He takes a quick draft from a car but then around it. He's about to catch his minute man, Simon Clarke. Martin is five seconds faster at the intermediate split.

Martin is closing in on another rider, already. He seeks another short draft from a team car but then moves through to overtake the Giant Alpecin rider.

Martin just goes passed him and sets his sights on the motorbike 30 yards ahead of him. He's into the final 3km of the climb and looking good for the new best time.

Gilbert is about to start his TT. He's had a strong week too, having gone on the attack at several points, including yesterday on the descent before the final climb. The BMC rider is riding his road bike for today's individual test.

Just over 30 minutes before Gallopin start his effort. Martin is closing in on the finish though and looks set to take over from Talansky in the hot seat.

The German TT specialist comes through the final corner and sets the new fastest time by a shade over seven seconds. 20'52 for Tony Martin and Taaramae down to third.

Further down the climb Simon Yates goes third fastest at the intermediate check.

And now van Garaderen, who had a shocker yesterday in the cold, starts his time trial. The American dropped out of the GC fight but he'll be looking to bounce back today and pull out a strong performance.

New best time for @tonymartin85! 20’52”! Fastest by 7.48”! #ParisNice http://t.co/tk2A2hO5He

@Etixx_QuickStep Sun, 15th Mar 2015 12:59:07

Bardet, and now Vichot are both out on the road as we see Gilbert out on the climb. Further down the road Van Garderen is well into his effort as Chavanel leaves the start house in the national colours of time trial champion.

Simon Yates takes 6th at the finish, 40 seconds down on Martin but a fairly decent ride from the young Orica rider.

Martin still leads, with Talansky 8 seconds back. The rain and wind are still factors as we start to close in on the GC contenders.

Roche is coming to the line. 14th place for the Team Sky rider. He's done his work already in the race having worked his socks off for Porte and Thomas.

And now the Tour of Oman winner, Valls, starts his time trial. 8th on GC, the Lampre rider has held his form but not quite been on the same level as the top GC men. Spilak is next to start.

Rui Costa is the next rider off from the start. The former road world champion has been building up his form during the week and is another rider using his road bike. Gallopin is also going to use his road bike but with aero bars included.

Fuglsang rolls out from the start house. The Dane is an outsider for the stage today but should certainly post a time inside the top ten. He's also on his road bike.

Thomas is the next rider to start, so just three more riders left to go. Thomas is another rider who has decided to use a road bike. He's out of the saddle early as he tries to find his pace.

Gallopin finishes his warm up and is heading to the start as Thomas sits back on the saddle, leans over his bar extensions and settles down for his time trial effort.

Kwiatkowski in white now starts his time trial. Just Porte and Gallopin next.

Further up the climb Wellens is 6th at the first time check. Martin still leads at the intermediate and at the finish.

As van Garderen races too the finish and claims 9th on the stage. Back to the start and Porte is now on his way. LIke most of the GC men he's opted for a road bike with time trial extensions. All eyes on the Australian who won here in 2013.

Gallopin looks focused and ready as he rolls down the start ramp. 5, 4, 3, 2, 1 and the race leader is on the road. 9.5km and a 36 second buffer over Porte.

Spilak is 19 seconds faster than Martin at the first time check.

As at the finish Bardet comes over the line, 1:16 down on Tony Martin's time. Vichot is 7th at the finish too.

Gallopin, Porte, Kwiatkowski, Fuglsang and Thomas all out on the climb and contending for the overall podium spots.

Chavanel is 50 seconds off the pace at the finish and misses out on a top ten but this is a good time from Wellens, 25 seconds down and fourth place for now.

Porte and Kwiatkowski look to be flying at the moment but no time checks just yet as Costa goes second at the first time check, 11 seconds down on Spilak.

Fuglsang is losing time, he can only manage 11th at the first time check.

Thomas is also suffering, he's losing time to Spilak too, who is moving closer to the podium.

Thomas is 24 seconds down on Spilak at the intermediate as Spilak comes over the line 20:36 to take the stage lead. Kwiatkowski is 18 seconds down at the intermediate.

And Porte goes fastest at the intermediate, 12 seconds faster than the Katusha rider. The Australian comes out of he saddle and looks on course for the stage and overall but all eyes on Gallopin now.

Costs finishes 11 seconds off the pace of Spilak.

Gallopin had 36 seconds on Porte at the start but he comes through the time check 58 seconds down on the stage.

11th for Fuglsang at the finish so he may also slip down in GC as we see Porte move into the provisional race lead.

Gallopin needs to not only hold Porte but also gain time on the Australian rider.

Porte leads the GC by seconds seconds and Spilak looks on course for a podium place. Kwiatkowski is under pressure to then.

22 seconds Porte leads the race by as we see Kwiatkowski really suffer in the rain and wind. The road world champion needs to find a few seconds if he wants a podium place today.

And here comes Kwiatkowski, through the final corner and over the line for 4th, 16 seconds down on Spilak. That's going to be really close for the podium but if Gallopin continues to lose time we could have a podium of Porte, Spilak and Kwiatkowski.

And Porte comes to the line in a time of 20:23. 13 seconds faster than Spilak as we wait for Gallopin.

Gallopin still has over 1km of racing to cover and he's still losing time. A superb effort yesterday but this has been a bridge too far for the Frenchman.

Gallopin comes over the line but has lost over a minute to Porte and he'll fall out of the yellow jersey. Porte wins the stage from Spilak, Costa, and Martin.

An in the overall Porte takes his second title in three years with Kwiatkowski second at 30 seconds, Spilak third at 30 seconds and Costa 4th at the same time too. Thomas is fifth with Gallopin dropping to sixth.

Porte wins stage/overall, @tonymartin85 and @michalkwiatek finish 4th and 5th stage. Kwiatkowski 2nd GC #ParisNice http://t.co/ZCwS2qFHz9

@Etixx_QuickStep Sun, 15th Mar 2015 13:49:42

1 Richie Porte (Aus) Team Sky 20:23
2 Simon Spilak (Svk) Katusha 00:13
3 Rui Costa (Por) Lampre-Merida 00:24
4 Tony Martin (Ger) Eitxx-QuickStep 00:29
5 Michal Kwiatkowski (Etixx-QuickStep) 00:29
6 Andrew Talansky (USA) Cannondale-Garmin 00:37
7 Geraint Thomas (GBr) Team Sky 00:39
8 Jon Izagirre (Spa) Movistar 00:50
9 Tim Wellens (Bel) Lotto Soudal 00:54
10 Gorka Izagirre (Spa) Movistar 00:55

General Classification
1 Richie Porte (Aus) Team Sky 29:10:41
2 Michal Kwiatkowski (Etixx-QuickStep) 00:30
3 Simon Spilak (Svk) Katusha 00:30
4 Rui Costa (Por) Lampre-Merida 00:30
5 Geraint Thomas (GBr) Team Sky 00:41
6 Tony Gallopin (Fra) Lotto-Soudal 01:03
7 Jakob Fuglsang (Den) Astana 01:05
8 Rafael Valls (Spa) Lampre-Merida 01:24
9 Gorka Izagirre (Spa) Movistar 01:38
10 Tim Wellens (Bel) Lotto Soudal 02:18

Thanks for joining us today. You can find our report, results and photos, right here.

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