Paris-Nice: Hivert wins stage 3

Jonathan Hivert (Direct Energie) claimed victory on stage 3 of Paris-Nice as Luis León Sánchez (Astana) moved into the overall lead.

The Frenchman, who won both stages and the overall at the Tour du Haut Var last month, comfortably sprinted away from Sánchez and Remy di Gregorio (Delko Marseille Provence) after the trio had gone clear over the top of a late category 3 climb.

The peloton split to pieces on the lower slopes of the climb and, despite a regrouping on the descent, they were only able to roll across the line in Châtel-Guyon some 38 seconds in arrears.

Arnaud Démare (Groupama-FDJ) led the bunch home for fourth place but surrendered his yellow jersey to Sánchez, who now leads the race by half a minute.

"I had a good start to the season, and wanted to do well here at Paris-Nice," Hivert said. "I didn't do well the first day in the rain, and I wasn't very happy, so I tried to redress that today. It's great for Direct Energie to have at least one stage win, and we'll carry on to the end of the week."

For the third day in a row Paris-Nice served up a stage that was hard to predict. It was the longest of the race, at 210 kilometres, and no one knew quite what impact the Côte de Charbonnières, topping out 20km shy of the line, would have on proceedings.

Julian Alaphilippe (Quick-Step Floors) was the chief aggressor and left the peloton in pieces, but came away with nothing to show for his efforts. He passed the KOM banner in pole position, with Tim Wellens (Lotto Soudal) and Jakob Fuglsang (Astana) for company, but the road continued to rise for another 2.5km to the second intermediate sprint point, during which time the chasing group of 20 was able to come back.

A couple of attacks came and went and, just after the sprint banner, Di Gregorio tried his luck and was joined by Sánchez and Hivert. The fast, swooping descent, combined with a lack of a concerted chase – which Sánchez's teammates did their upmost to disrupt – saw them open a lead of 40 seconds. That also allowed dropped riders such as Démare, Simon Yates (Mitchelton-Scott) and Woet Poels (Team Sky), who'd punctured, to re-enter the fray as the chase groups joined back together.

As the road kicked up again in the final 2km, however, it was clear victory would be played out amongst the leading three, and the tactical complexion favoured Hivert. Di Gregorio knew the only way he could win was to attack, and Hivert knew that Sánchez, with the yellow jersey in his sights, would have to close him down. Sitting on Sánchez's wheel all the way to the last few hundred metres, there was little surprise or response when Hivert struck out and claimed the biggest victory of his career.

"I didn't calculate anything at all. When I saw we were in a little group like that after the climb, I thought it might be too well organised behind, that it might be better to wait," Hivert said.

"I often wait for the finish because I'm quick, but I tried to follow the guys who went, and then in the last couple of kilometres I played off the other two. I almost had it in my head before the line that I was going to win but I still needed to do it."

How it unfolded

The clouds gathered over Bourges once more on Tuesday morning, but with a 210-kilometre trip due south – the longest stage here – the 'Race to the Sun' would take a big step towards its final destination.

After a block headwind deterred attacks yesterday, this time it didn't take long for a breakaway to form. In there were Jay Thomson (Dimension Data), Fabien Grellier (Direct Energie) and Przemyslaw Kasperkiewicz (Delko Marseille Provence) and they quickly opened up a lead of seven minutes over the peloton.

FDJ hit the front of the peloton to keep things under control but only at the half-way stage did the gap start to come down. Before that, Phil Bauhaus (Sunweb) abandoned with knee pain while fellow sprinter Sam Bennett (Bora-Hansgrohe) also left the race.

While Thomson had taken maximum points at the first intermediate sprint, Grellier struck out on the back-to-back category-3 climbs in the second half of the parcours to move level on points in the KOM standings with Pierre-Luc Périchon (Fortuneo-Samsic).

Such was Grellier's eagerness, he opened up a big gap on his two companions and decided to go it alone. The gap came tumbling down, though, over the next 35 kilometres and he was caught by the advancing peloton just shy of the entry to the 35km finishing circuit.

The circuit gave the riders a chance to preview the uphill final couple of kilometres, though Alexander Kristoff (UAE Team Emirates) was already out of the picture, reportedly suffering with illness.

The climb started soon after the finish line and it wasn't long before sprinters were losing contact as Astana and Quick-Step drove the pace. Poels suffered an untimely mechanical and, after a wheel change from a teammate, he and Sky were forced onto the back foot, though they kept Sergio Henao in the front group.

After a huge turn from Dries Devenyns, Alaphilippe made his move. At first only Wellens could follow, and he seemed to have trouble just holding the Frenchman's wheel. The group thinned to 20 riders, with Démare and Trentin dropped. Fuglsang attacked next and latched onto Wellens and Alaphilippe at the KOM point but the sting was taken out of the move when Lilian Calmejane (Direct Energie) and Ion Izaguirre (Bahrain-Merida) made it over.

On the ensuing false flat, Fuglsang attacked and, after he was reeled in by Mitchelton-Scott's Roman Kreuziger, Sánchez went next for Astana when Di Gregorio attacked. Hivert, breaking out of his comfort zone, joined for the ride and all the circumstances played in his favour.

"I feel brand new right now," said the 32-year-old. "I had operations on both knees not long ago. I always had niggles but now everything's going well and I hope I can still do nice things."

Full Results

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#Rider Name (Country) TeamResult
1Jonathan Hivert (Fra) Direct Energie5:22:49
2Luis León Sanchez (Spa) Astana Pro Team0:00:01
3Remy Di Gregorio (Fra) Delko Marseille Provence KTM
4Arnaud Demare (Fra) Groupama-FDJ0:00:38
5Mike Teunissen (Ned) Team Sunweb
6André Greipel (Ger) Lotto Soudal
7Magnus Cort (Den) Astana Pro Team
8Matteo Trentin (Ita) Mitchelton-Scott
9Julian Alaphilippe (Fra) Quick-Step Floors
10Felix Grossschartner (Aut) Bora-Hansgrohe
11Laurent Pichon (Fra) Fortuneo-Samsic
12Thomas Boudat (Fra) Direct Energie
13Natnael Berhane (Eri) Dimension Data
14Heinrich Haussler (Aus) Bahrain-Merida
15Oliver Naesen (Bel) AG2R La Mondiale
16Delio Fernandez Cruz (Spa) Delko Marseille Provence KTM
17Timo Roosen (Ned) LottoNL-Jumbo
18Richard Carapaz (Ecu) Movistar Team
19Maurits Lammertink (Ned) Katusha-Alpecin
20Ion Izagirre (Spa) Bahrain-Merida
21Lilian Calmejane (Fra) Direct Energie
22Sam Oomen (Ned) Team Sunweb
23Omar Fraile (Spa) Astana Pro Team
24Rudy Molard (Fra) Groupama-FDJ
25Matti Breschel (Den) EF Education First-Drapac p/b Cannondale
26Patrick Konrad (Aut) Bora-Hansgrohe
27Roman Kreuziger (Cze) Mitchelton-Scott
28Esteban Chaves (Col) Mitchelton-Scott
29Sylvain Chavanel (Fra) Direct Energie
30Ben Swift (GBr) UAE Team Emirates
31Gorka Izagirre (Spa) Bahrain-Merida
32Tony Gallopin (Fra) AG2R La Mondiale
33Cyril Gautier (Fra) AG2R La Mondiale
34Tim Wellens (Bel) Lotto Soudal
35Marc Soler (Spa) Movistar Team
36Ilnur Zakarin (Rus) Katusha-Alpecin
37Dylan Teuns (Bel) BMC Racing Team
38Jesus Herrada (Spa) Cofidis, Solutions Credits
39Wout Poels (Ned) Team Sky
40Warren Barguil (Fra) Fortuneo-Samsic
41Jarlinson Pantano (Col) Trek-Segafredo
42Bauke Mollema (Ned) Trek-Segafredo
43Mikael Cherel (Fra) AG2R La Mondiale
44David De La Cruz (Spa) Team Sky
45Manuele Boaro (Ita) Bahrain-Merida
46Sergio Henao (Col) Team Sky
47Alessandro De Marchi (Ita) BMC Racing Team
48Michael Valgren (Den) Astana Pro Team
49Eduardo Sepulveda (Arg) Movistar Team
50Dan Martin (Irl) UAE Team Emirates
51Romain Combaud (Fra) Delko Marseille Provence KTM
52Pawel Poljanski (Pol) Bora-Hansgrohe
53Nicolas Roche (Irl) BMC Racing Team
54Robert Gesink (Ned) LottoNL-Jumbo
55Anthony Delaplace (Fra) Fortuneo-Samsic
56Jakob Fuglsang (Den) Astana Pro Team
57Alexis Vuillermoz (Fra) AG2R La Mondiale
58Maxime Bouet (Fra) Fortuneo-Samsic
59Julien El Fares (Fra) Delko Marseille Provence KTM
60Ian Boswell (USA) Katusha-Alpecin
61Serge Pauwels (Bel) Dimension Data
62Dries Devenyns (Bel) Quick-Step Floors
63Julien Bernard (Fra) Trek-Segafredo
64Simon Gerrans (Aus) BMC Racing Team
65Pierre Rolland (Fra) EF Education First-Drapac p/b Cannondale
66Jose Herrada (Spa) Cofidis, Solutions Credits
67Lawson Craddock (USA) EF Education First-Drapac p/b Cannondale
68Antonio Nibali (Ita) Bahrain-Merida
69Tiago Machado (Por) Katusha-Alpecin
70Amael Moinard (Fra) Fortuneo-Samsic
71Simon Yates (GBr) Mitchelton-Scott
72Mitchell Docker (Aus) EF Education First-Drapac p/b Cannondale
73Hector Carretero (Spa) Movistar Team
74Pierre Luc Perichon (Fra) Fortuneo-Samsic0:01:17
75Koen de Kort (Ned) Trek-Segafredo0:01:37
76Nicolas Edet (Fra) Cofidis, Solutions Credits0:01:41
77Sebastian Langeveld (Ned) EF Education First-Drapac p/b Cannondale0:01:47
78Jasper De Buyst (Bel) Lotto Soudal0:02:20
79Axel Domont (Fra) AG2R La Mondiale0:02:48
80Jelle Wallays (Bel) Lotto Soudal0:03:31
81Elia Viviani (Ita) Quick-Step Floors0:05:16
82Jacopo Guarnieri (Ita) Groupama-FDJ
83Nils Politt (Ger) Katusha-Alpecin
84Tim Declercq (Bel) Quick-Step Floors
85Bert Van Lerberghe (Bel) Cofidis, Solutions Credits
86Fabio Sabatini (Ita) Quick-Step Floors
87Tom-Jelte Slagter (Ned) Dimension Data
88Nacer Bouhanni (Fra) Cofidis, Solutions Credits
89Diego Rosa (Ita) Team Sky
90Carlos Barbero (Spa) Movistar Team
91Jean-Pierre Drucker (Lux) BMC Racing Team
92Imanol Erviti (Spa) Movistar Team
93Louis Vervaeke (Bel) Team Sunweb
94Edward Theuns (Bel) Team Sunweb
95Yves Lampaert (Bel) Quick-Step Floors
96Lars Bak (Den) Lotto Soudal
97Christophe Laporte (Fra) Cofidis, Solutions Credits
98Luka Pibernik (Slo) Bahrain-Merida
99Paul Martens (Ger) LottoNL-Jumbo
100Amund Grøndahl Jansen (Nor) LottoNL-Jumbo
101Thomas Leezer (Ned) LottoNL-Jumbo
102Christopher Hamilton (Aus) Team Sunweb
103Hugo Houle (Can) Astana Pro Team
104Kevin Ledanois (Fra) Fortuneo-Samsic
105Angelo Tulik (Fra) Direct Energie
106Dayer Quintana (Col) Movistar Team
107Olivier Le Gac (Fra) Groupama-FDJ
108Tom Scully (NZl) EF Education First-Drapac p/b Cannondale
109Christopher Juul Jensen (Den) Mitchelton-Scott
110Michael Schwarzmann (Ger) Bora-Hansgrohe0:10:03
111Juraj Sagan (Svk) Bora-Hansgrohe
112Benjamin King (USA) Dimension Data
113Ryan Gibbons (RSA) Dimension Data
114Brenton Jones (Aus) Delko Marseille Provence KTM
115Evaldas Siskevicius (Ltu) Delko Marseille Provence KTM
116Dylan Groenewegen (Ned) LottoNL-Jumbo0:11:18
117Ramon Sinkeldam (Ned) Groupama-FDJ
118Marcel Sieberg (Ger) Lotto Soudal
119John Degenkolb (Ger) Trek-Segafredo
120Ivan Garcia (Spa) Bahrain-Merida
121Jurgen Roelandts (Bel) BMC Racing Team
122Markel Irizar (Spa) Trek-Segafredo
123Rory Sutherland (Aus) UAE Team Emirates
124Daniel McLay (GBr) EF Education First-Drapac p/b Cannondale
125Oliviero Troia (Ita) UAE Team Emirates
126Michael Mørkøv (Den) Quick-Step Floors
127Sven Erik Bystrøm (Nor) UAE Team Emirates
128Pavel Kochetkov (Rus) Katusha-Alpecin
129Dmitriy Gruzdev (Kaz) Astana Pro Team
130Marco Haller (Aut) Katusha-Alpecin
131Stijn Vandenbergh (Bel) AG2R La Mondiale
132Gregory Rast (Swi) Trek-Segafredo
133Mathew Hayman (Aus) Mitchelton-Scott
134Ian Stannard (GBr) Team Sky
135Johann Van Zyl (RSA) Dimension Data
136Roy Curvers (Ned) Team Sunweb
137Dylan van Baarle (Ned) Team Sky
138Alex Edmondson (Aus) Mitchelton-Scott
139Fabien Grellier (Fra) Direct Energie
140Jerome Cousin (Fra) Direct Energie
141Cyril Lemoine (Fra) Cofidis, Solutions Credits
142Ignatas Konovalovas (Ltu) Groupama-FDJ0:15:18
143Przemyslaw Kasperkiewicz (Pol) Delko Marseille Provence KTM
144Thomas De Gendt (Bel) Lotto Soudal
145Mickael Delage (Fra) Groupama-FDJ
146Jay Thomson (RSA) Dimension Data
147Erik Baska (Svk) Bora-Hansgrohe
148Lars Boom (Ned) LottoNL-Jumbo
149David Lopez Garcia (Spa) Team Sky
150Alexander Kristoff (Nor) UAE Team Emirates0:17:59
DNFSam Bennett (Irl) Bora-Hansgrohe
DNFPhil Bauhaus (Ger) Team Sunweb
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Sprint 1 - Le Brethon - 61 km
#Rider Name (Country) TeamResult
1Jakob Fuglsang (Den) Astana Pro Team3pts
2Roman Kreuziger (Cze) Mitchelton-Scott2
3Jonathan Hivert (Fra) Direct Energie1
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Sprint 2 - Les Brossons - 190.5 km
Rider Name (Country) TeamResult
Jakob Fuglsang (Den) Astana Pro Team3pts
Roman Kreuziger (Cze) Mitchelton-Scott2
Jonathan Hivert (Fra) Direct Energie1
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Finish - Châtel-guyon - 210 km
#Rider Name (Country) TeamResult
1Jonathan Hivert (Fra) Direct Energie15pts
2Luis León Sanchez (Spa) Astana Pro Team12
3Remy Di Gregorio (Fra) Delko Marseille Provence KTM9
4Arnaud Demare (Fra) Groupama-FDJ7
5Mike Teunissen (Ned) Team Sunweb6
6André Greipel (Ger) Lotto Soudal5
7Magnus Cort (Den) Astana Pro Team4
8Matteo Trentin (Ita) Mitchelton-Scott3
9Julian Alaphilippe (Fra) Quick-Step Floors2
10Felix Grossschartner (Aut) Bora-Hansgrohe1
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KOM 1 - Côte de la Bosse - 123 km
#Rider Name (Country) TeamResult
1Fabien Grellier (Fra) Direct Energie4pts
2Przemyslaw Kasperkiewicz (Pol) Delko Marseille Provence KTM2
3Jay Thomson (RSA) Dimension Data1
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KOM 2 - Côte des Boulards - 143.5 km
#Rider Name (Country) TeamResult
1Fabien Grellier (Fra) Direct Energie4pts
2Jay Thomson (RSA) Dimension Data2
3Przemyslaw Kasperkiewicz (Pol) Delko Marseille Provence KTM1
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KOM 3 - Côte de Charbonnières - 188 km
#Rider Name (Country) TeamResult
1Julian Alaphilippe (Fra) Quick-Step Floors4pts
2Tim Wellens (Bel) Lotto Soudal2
3Jakob Fuglsang (Den) Astana Pro Team1
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Best Young Rider
#Rider Name (Country) TeamResult
1Magnus Cort (Den) Astana Pro Team5:23:27
2Felix Grossschartner (Aut) Bora-Hansgrohe
3Thomas Boudat (Fra) Direct Energie
4Timo Roosen (Ned) LottoNL-Jumbo
5Richard Carapaz (Ecu) Movistar Team
6Sam Oomen (Ned) Team Sunweb
7Marc Soler (Spa) Movistar Team
8Hector Carretero (Spa) Movistar Team
9Jasper De Buyst (Bel) Lotto Soudal0:01:42
10Nils Politt (Ger) Katusha-Alpecin0:04:38
11Louis Vervaeke (Bel) Team Sunweb
12Luka Pibernik (Slo) Bahrain-Merida
13Amund Grøndahl Jansen (Nor) LottoNL-Jumbo
14Christopher Hamilton (Aus) Team Sunweb
15Kevin Ledanois (Fra) Fortuneo-Samsic
16Olivier Le Gac (Fra) Groupama-FDJ
17Ryan Gibbons (RSA) Dimension Data0:09:25
18Dylan Groenewegen (Ned) LottoNL-Jumbo0:10:40
19Ivan Garcia (Spa) Bahrain-Merida
20Oliviero Troia (Ita) UAE Team Emirates
21Alex Edmondson (Aus) Mitchelton-Scott
22Fabien Grellier (Fra) Direct Energie
23Przemyslaw Kasperkiewicz (Pol) Delko Marseille Provence KTM0:14:40
24Erik Baska (Svk) Bora-Hansgrohe
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#Rider Name (Country) TeamResult
1Direct Energie16:09:43
2Astana Pro Team0:00:01
3Delko Marseille Provence Ktm
4Mitchelton - Scott0:00:38
5Bahrain - Merida
6AG2R La Mondiale
7Bora - Hansgrohe
8Movistar Team
9Team Fortuneo - Samsic
10Team Katusha Alpecin
11Team Sky
12BMC Racing Team
13Trek - Segafredo
14Team Ef Education First - Drapac p/b Cannondale
15Cofidis, Solutions Credits0:01:41
16Lotto Soudal0:02:20
17Groupama - FDJ0:05:16
18Team Sunweb
19Quick - Step Floors
20Team Dimension Data
21Team Lotto Nl - Jumbo
22UAE Team Emirates0:11:18
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General Classification after stage 3
#Rider Name (Country) TeamResult
1Luis León Sanchez (Spa) Astana Pro Team13:21:56
2Arnaud Demare (Fra) Groupama-FDJ0:00:28
3Gorka Izagirre (Spa) Bahrain-Merida0:00:35
4Julian Alaphilippe (Fra) Quick-Step Floors0:00:38
5Mike Teunissen (Ned) Team Sunweb0:00:41
6Tim Wellens (Bel) Lotto Soudal
7Roman Kreuziger (Cze) Mitchelton-Scott
8Heinrich Haussler (Aus) Bahrain-Merida0:00:43
9Felix Grossschartner (Aut) Bora-Hansgrohe
10Ion Izagirre (Spa) Bahrain-Merida
11Tony Gallopin (Fra) AG2R La Mondiale
12Esteban Chaves (Col) Mitchelton-Scott
13Thomas Boudat (Fra) Direct Energie
14Patrick Konrad (Aut) Bora-Hansgrohe
15Marc Soler (Spa) Movistar Team
16Rudy Molard (Fra) Groupama-FDJ
17Wout Poels (Ned) Team Sky
18Cyril Gautier (Fra) AG2R La Mondiale
19Richard Carapaz (Ecu) Movistar Team
20Lilian Calmejane (Fra) Direct Energie
21Delio Fernandez Cruz (Spa) Delko Marseille Provence KTM
22Dylan Teuns (Bel) BMC Racing Team
23Dan Martin (Irl) UAE Team Emirates
24Sergio Henao (Col) Team Sky
25Alexis Vuillermoz (Fra) AG2R La Mondiale
26Robert Gesink (Ned) LottoNL-Jumbo
27Simon Yates (GBr) Mitchelton-Scott
28Michael Valgren (Den) Astana Pro Team
29Bauke Mollema (Ned) Trek-Segafredo
30Lawson Craddock (USA) EF Education First-Drapac p/b Cannondale
31Natnael Berhane (Eri) Dimension Data0:00:52
32Remy Di Gregorio (Fra) Delko Marseille Provence KTM0:00:59
33Alessandro De Marchi (Ita) BMC Racing Team
34Sam Oomen (Ned) Team Sunweb0:01:01
35Timo Roosen (Ned) LottoNL-Jumbo0:01:04
36Dries Devenyns (Bel) Quick-Step Floors
37Manuele Boaro (Ita) Bahrain-Merida0:01:07
38David De La Cruz (Spa) Team Sky0:01:09
39Pawel Poljanski (Pol) Bora-Hansgrohe0:01:12
40Mikael Cherel (Fra) AG2R La Mondiale0:01:15
41Warren Barguil (Fra) Fortuneo-Samsic
42Julien El Fares (Fra) Delko Marseille Provence KTM
43Maxime Bouet (Fra) Fortuneo-Samsic0:01:22
44Romain Combaud (Fra) Delko Marseille Provence KTM
45Maurits Lammertink (Ned) Katusha-Alpecin0:01:34
46Jarlinson Pantano (Col) Trek-Segafredo0:01:36
47Laurent Pichon (Fra) Fortuneo-Samsic0:01:40
48Jesus Herrada (Spa) Cofidis, Solutions Credits
49Amael Moinard (Fra) Fortuneo-Samsic
50Matteo Trentin (Ita) Mitchelton-Scott0:01:44
51Oliver Naesen (Bel) AG2R La Mondiale0:01:47
52Ilnur Zakarin (Rus) Katusha-Alpecin0:02:00
53Matti Breschel (Den) EF Education First-Drapac p/b Cannondale0:02:07
54Ian Boswell (USA) Katusha-Alpecin
55Anthony Delaplace (Fra) Fortuneo-Samsic0:02:11
56Jakob Fuglsang (Den) Astana Pro Team0:02:16
57Tiago Machado (Por) Katusha-Alpecin
58Magnus Cort (Den) Astana Pro Team0:02:19
59Sylvain Chavanel (Fra) Direct Energie
60Nicolas Roche (Irl) BMC Racing Team
61Serge Pauwels (Bel) Dimension Data
62Jose Herrada (Spa) Cofidis, Solutions Credits
63Simon Gerrans (Aus) BMC Racing Team