Paris-Nice: Poels wins stage 4 time trial

Wout Poels (Team Sky) claimed victory on the stage 4 time trial of Paris-Nice to move within striking distance of the yellow jersey, which remains on the shoulders of Luis Leon Sanchez (Astana Pro Team).

The 18.4km test from La Fouillouse to Saint-Étienne was not a straightforward one, but Poels made light work of the hilly course to take the stage win, 11 seconds ahead of Marc Soler (Movistar Team), while Julian Alaphilippe (Quick-Step Floors) recovered well from a misjudged corner on the final descent to place third, 16 seconds down.

Sanchez, the day's final starter, produced a solid ride to place seventh, 28 seconds down on Poels, though his overall lead has been reduced to just 15 seconds as Poels moves up into second place. Alaphilippe's general classification challenge remains resolutely intact, and he lies third overall, 26 seconds down on Sanchez, and just ahead of Soler.

"It was quite a hard time trial, especially in the beginning with the uphill and at the end the little short peak. It was a really hard TT, but really good for me," said Poels, whose victory comes amid an especially trying week for his Sky team, whose practices were called in question by the parliamentary select committee report on doping in British sport published on Monday.

"I'm focused on racing. Of course I support Dave [Brailsford] and the team," Poels said when asked for his opinion on the matter after the stage.

Poels set out his stall over the opening part of the course, as he recorded the quickest time led through the first time check after 8 kilometres, following the steady climb towards Saint-Heand. The Dutchman was 12 seconds ahead of Felix Grossschartner (Bora-Hansgrohe) and 14 clear of Soler at that point, and he negotiated the final part of the course well to seal stage victory.

Soler managed to peg back three seconds over the final 10 kilometres, but the most impressive rider down the back stretch of the race was Alaphilippe. The Frenchman began steadily, and was only ninth best, 25 seconds down on Poels at the 8km mark. He took flight on the descent that followed, however, and began to close in on the winning time, though even without his brief wobble in the closing kilometres, the Frenchman would not have made up the entirety of his early deficit.

Poels' Sky teammate and defending Paris-Nice champion Sergio Henao enjoyed a solid afternoon, and spent a brief stint in the hot seat after bettering the time of Simon Yates (Mitchelton-Scott) by hundredths of a second.

By day's end, Henao would drop to ninth on the stage and, like Yates and Esteban Chaves (Mitchelton-Scott), finished the stage 33 seconds down on Poels. In the overall standings, Henao, Chaves and Yates lie in ninth, 10th and 11th overall, respectively, all 48 seconds down on Sanchez.

"We still have a few cards to play. I'm now good on GC, Sergio is good too," Poels said. "We're still up at the front, so we're going to fight for it. It's better to have more choices - yesterday for example, I had bad luck so it's always easier when you have a few at the front."

Time lost

With four stages still to come, the Saint-Étienne time trial is far from decisive, but it has added greater definition to the general classification picture. Soler's strong showing keeps him in contention to continue Movistar's longstanding tradition in this race, which stretches back to Miguel Indurain's first victory in Reynolds colours back in 1989.

Ion and Gorka Izagirre (Bahrain-Merida) remain in the hunt after they placed fifth and sixth on the stage, both 27 seconds behind Poels, while Tim Wellens (Lotto Soudal) limited his losses well and enters the second half of the race in 9th overall, 42 seconds behind Sanchez.

It was a more trying afternoon for other general classification contenders. Dan Martin (UAE Team Emirates) conceded 1:21 on the stage and now lies 22nd overall, 1:36 behind Sanchez. Bauke Mollema (Trek-Segafredo) is now almost two minutes down on GC, while neither Jakob Fuglsang (Astana) nor Ilnur Zakarin (Katusha-Alpecin) – both already well adrift in the overall standings – were able to make much headway here.

Sanchez, meanwhile, declared himself satisfied with his first defence of his yellow jersey, even if he perhaps conceded a little more ground than he might have anticipated to Poels. The Spaniard upset Alberto Contador to win this race overall in 2009, and he knows that every second counts on the road to Nice.

"With the wet roads I couldn't take the risks that I would otherwise have taken, but it was the same for everyone. My legs had recovered pretty well from yesterday," said Sanchez. "Looking ahead to the coming stages, there's a long way to Nice. But I'd have signed for this at the start of the race."

Full Results

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#Rider Name (Country) TeamResult
1Wout Poels (Ned) Team Sky0:25:33
2Marc Soler (Spa) Movistar Team0:00:11
3Julian Alaphilippe (Fra) Quick-Step Floors0:00:16
4Felix Grossschartner (Aut) Bora-Hansgrohe0:00:20
5Ion Izagirre (Spa) Bahrain-Merida0:00:27
6Gorka Izagirre (Spa) Bahrain-Merida
7Luis León Sanchez (Spa) Astana Pro Team0:00:28
8Tim Wellens (Bel) Lotto Soudal0:00:29
9Sergio Henao (Col) Team Sky0:00:33
10Esteban Chaves (Col) Mitchelton-Scott
11Simon Yates (GBr) Mitchelton-Scott
12David De La Cruz (Spa) Team Sky0:00:34
13Patrick Konrad (Aut) Bora-Hansgrohe0:00:39
14Lilian Calmejane (Fra) Direct Energie0:00:42
15Dylan Teuns (Bel) BMC Racing Team0:00:45
16Dylan van Baarle (Ned) Team Sky0:00:48
17Jakob Fuglsang (Den) Astana Pro Team0:00:56
18Alessandro De Marchi (Ita) BMC Racing Team
19Sam Oomen (Ned) Team Sunweb0:01:00
20Jarlinson Pantano (Col) Trek-Segafredo0:01:03
21Tony Gallopin (Fra) AG2R La Mondiale0:01:04
22Nils Politt (Ger) Katusha-Alpecin
23Christopher Hamilton (Aus) Team Sunweb0:01:08
24Imanol Erviti (Spa) Movistar Team
25Jesus Herrada (Spa) Cofidis, Solutions Credits0:01:09
26Yves Lampaert (Bel) Quick-Step Floors
27Ilnur Zakarin (Rus) Katusha-Alpecin
28Alex Edmondson (Aus) Mitchelton-Scott
29Alexis Vuillermoz (Fra) AG2R La Mondiale0:01:11
30Thomas De Gendt (Bel) Lotto Soudal
31Diego Rosa (Ita) Team Sky0:01:14
32Rudy Molard (Fra) Groupama-FDJ0:01:15
33Roman Kreuziger (Cze) Mitchelton-Scott0:01:16
34Dan Martin (Irl) UAE Team Emirates0:01:21
35Jerome Cousin (Fra) Direct Energie0:01:25
36Lawson Craddock (USA) EF Education First-Drapac p/b Cannondale0:01:29
37Matteo Trentin (Ita) Mitchelton-Scott0:01:31
38Christopher Juul Jensen (Den) Mitchelton-Scott
39Tom Scully (NZl) EF Education First-Drapac p/b Cannondale0:01:34
40Bauke Mollema (Ned) Trek-Segafredo0:01:35
41Sylvain Chavanel (Fra) Direct Energie0:01:37
42Benjamin King (USA) Dimension Data0:01:40
43Mike Teunissen (Ned) Team Sunweb0:01:43
44Robert Gesink (Ned) LottoNL-Jumbo0:01:48
45Jose Herrada (Spa) Cofidis, Solutions Credits0:01:49
46Laurent Pichon (Fra) Fortuneo-Samsic0:01:50
47Arnaud Demare (Fra) Groupama-FDJ
48Delio Fernandez Cruz (Spa) Delko Marseille Provence KTM0:01:51
49Nicolas Edet (Fra) Cofidis, Solutions Credits
50Louis Vervaeke (Bel) Team Sunweb0:01:53
51Heinrich Haussler (Aus) Bahrain-Merida0:01:54
52Rory Sutherland (Aus) UAE Team Emirates0:01:56
53Richard Carapaz (Ecu) Movistar Team0:01:59
54Cyril Gautier (Fra) AG2R La Mondiale0:02:00
55Ian Stannard (GBr) Team Sky0:02:01
56Stijn Vandenbergh (Bel) AG2R La Mondiale
57Serge Pauwels (Bel) Dimension Data0:02:02
58Maurits Lammertink (Ned) Katusha-Alpecin
59Sebastian Langeveld (Ned) EF Education First-Drapac p/b Cannondale0:02:03
60Manuele Boaro (Ita) Bahrain-Merida
61Michael Valgren (Den) Astana Pro Team0:02:07
62Nicolas Roche (Irl) BMC Racing Team0:02:10
63Jean-Pierre Drucker (Lux) BMC Racing Team0:02:12
64Pawel Poljanski (Pol) Bora-Hansgrohe0:02:16
65Pierre Luc Perichon (Fra) Fortuneo-Samsic0:02:17
66Koen de Kort (Ned) Trek-Segafredo
67Julien Bernard (Fra) Trek-Segafredo0:02:19
68Tiago Machado (Por) Katusha-Alpecin
69Eduardo Sepulveda (Arg) Movistar Team0:02:20
70Pierre Rolland (Fra) EF Education First-Drapac p/b Cannondale0:02:21
71Maxime Bouet (Fra) Fortuneo-Samsic0:02:22
72Anthony Delaplace (Fra) Fortuneo-Samsic0:02:23
73Remy Di Gregorio (Fra) Delko Marseille Provence KTM0:02:24
74Markel Irizar (Spa) Trek-Segafredo0:02:25
75Cyril Lemoine (Fra) Cofidis, Solutions Credits0:02:28
76Michael Mørkøv (Den) Quick-Step Floors0:02:30
77Axel Domont (Fra) AG2R La Mondiale0:02:31
78Amael Moinard (Fra) Fortuneo-Samsic0:02:34
79Mathew Hayman (Aus) Mitchelton-Scott0:02:36
80Thomas Boudat (Fra) Direct Energie0:02:37
81Ian Boswell (USA) Katusha-Alpecin0:02:38
82Gregory Rast (Swi) Trek-Segafredo0:02:39
83Kevin Ledanois (Fra) Fortuneo-Samsic
84John Degenkolb (Ger) Trek-Segafredo0:02:42
85Ryan Gibbons (RSA) Dimension Data0:02:47
86Omar Fraile (Spa) Astana Pro Team0:02:48
87Sven Erik Bystrøm (Nor) UAE Team Emirates0:02:49
88Simon Gerrans (Aus) BMC Racing Team0:02:50
89Dries Devenyns (Bel) Quick-Step Floors0:02:51
90Paul Martens (Ger) LottoNL-Jumbo0:02:52
91Dayer Quintana (Col) Movistar Team0:02:53
92David Lopez Garcia (Spa) Team Sky
93Brenton Jones (Aus) Delko Marseille Provence KTM
94Natnael Berhane (Eri) Dimension Data
95Warren Barguil (Fra) Fortuneo-Samsic0:02:55
96Oliviero Troia (Ita) UAE Team Emirates0:02:56
97Hector Carretero (Spa) Movistar Team0:02:57
98Romain Combaud (Fra) Delko Marseille Provence KTM0:02:58
99Evaldas Siskevicius (Ltu) Delko Marseille Provence KTM0:02:59
100Tom-Jelte Slagter (Ned) Dimension Data
101Jurgen Roelandts (Bel) BMC Racing Team0:03:04
102Hugo Houle (Can) Astana Pro Team0:03:05
103Oliver Naesen (Bel) AG2R La Mondiale0:03:10
104Johann Van Zyl (RSA) Dimension Data0:03:12
105Dmitriy Gruzdev (Kaz) Astana Pro Team0:03:13
106Mitchell Docker (Aus) EF Education First-Drapac p/b Cannondale0:03:14
107Bert Van Lerberghe (Bel) Cofidis, Solutions Credits
108Jonathan Hivert (Fra) Direct Energie0:03:15
109Julien El Fares (Fra) Delko Marseille Provence KTM0:03:17
110Pavel Kochetkov (Rus) Katusha-Alpecin0:03:22
111Juraj Sagan (Svk) Bora-Hansgrohe0:03:23
112Luka Pibernik (Slo) Bahrain-Merida
113Edward Theuns (Bel) Team Sunweb
114Olivier Le Gac (Fra) Groupama-FDJ0:03:25
115Ben Swift (GBr) UAE Team Emirates0:03:28
116Jelle Wallays (Bel) Lotto Soudal0:03:29
117Fabien Grellier (Fra) Direct Energie
118Mikael Cherel (Fra) AG2R La Mondiale0:03:33
119Jacopo Guarnieri (Ita) Groupama-FDJ0:03:39
120Erik Baska (Svk) Bora-Hansgrohe0:03:41
121Jay Thomson (RSA) Dimension Data0:03:43
122Timo Roosen (Ned) LottoNL-Jumbo0:03:45
123Carlos Barbero (Spa) Movistar Team0:03:48
124Amund Grøndahl Jansen (Nor) LottoNL-Jumbo0:03:50
125Matti Breschel (Den) EF Education First-Drapac p/b Cannondale0:03:54
126Angelo Tulik (Fra) Direct Energie
127Lars Bak (Den) Lotto Soudal0:03:58
128Roy Curvers (Ned) Team Sunweb
129Przemyslaw Kasperkiewicz (Pol) Delko Marseille Provence KTM0:03:59
130Marco Haller (Aut) Katusha-Alpecin0:04:02
131Tim Declercq (Bel) Quick-Step Floors0:04:03
132Antonio Nibali (Ita) Bahrain-Merida0:04:04
133Fabio Sabatini (Ita) Quick-Step Floors0:04:06
134Michael Schwarzmann (Ger) Bora-Hansgrohe0:04:09
135Marcel Sieberg (Ger) Lotto Soudal
136Alexander Kristoff (Nor) UAE Team Emirates0:04:10
137Ramon Sinkeldam (Ned) Groupama-FDJ0:04:13
138Jasper De Buyst (Bel) Lotto Soudal0:04:15
139Ignatas Konovalovas (Ltu) Groupama-FDJ0:04:22
140André Greipel (Ger) Lotto Soudal0:04:28
141Daniel McLay (GBr) EF Education First-Drapac p/b Cannondale0:04:30
142Magnus Cort (Den) Astana Pro Team0:04:32
143Mickael Delage (Fra) Groupama-FDJ0:04:36
144Christophe Laporte (Fra) Cofidis, Solutions Credits0:04:37
145Elia Viviani (Ita) Quick-Step Floors0:04:42
146Thomas Leezer (Ned) LottoNL-Jumbo
147Dylan Groenewegen (Ned) LottoNL-Jumbo0:04:46
148Lars Boom (Ned) LottoNL-Jumbo0:05:08
149Ivan Garcia (Spa) Bahrain-Merida0:05:26
150Nacer Bouhanni (Fra) Cofidis, Solutions Credits0:05:34
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#Rider Name (Country) TeamResult
1Wout Poels (Ned) Team Sky15pts
2Marc Soler (Spa) Movistar Team12
3Julian Alaphilippe (Fra) Quick-Step Floors9
4Felix Grossschartner (Aut) Bora-Hansgrohe7
5Ion Izagirre (Spa) Bahrain-Merida6
6Gorka Izagirre (Spa) Bahrain-Merida5
7Luis León Sanchez (Spa) Astana Pro Team4
8Tim Wellens (Bel) Lotto Soudal3
9Sergio Henao (Col) Team Sky2
10Esteban Chaves (Col) Mitchelton-Scott1
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Young riders
#Rider Name (Country) TeamResult
1Marc Soler (Spa) Movistar Team0:25:44
2Felix Grossschartner (Aut) Bora-Hansgrohe0:00:09
3Sam Oomen (Ned) Team Sunweb0:00:49
4Nils Politt (Ger) Katusha-Alpecin0:00:53
5Christopher Hamilton (Aus) Team Sunweb0:00:57
6Alex Edmondson (Aus) Mitchelton-Scott0:00:58
7Louis Vervaeke (Bel) Team Sunweb0:01:42
8Richard Carapaz (Ecu) Movistar Team0:01:48
9Thomas Boudat (Fra) Direct Energie0:02:26
10Kevin Ledanois (Fra) Fortuneo-Samsic0:02:28
11Ryan Gibbons (RSA) Dimension Data0:02:36
12Oliviero Troia (Ita) UAE Team Emirates0:02:45
13Hector Carretero (Spa) Movistar Team0:02:46
14Luka Pibernik (Slo) Bahrain-Merida0:03:12
15Olivier Le Gac (Fra) Groupama-FDJ0:03:14
16Fabien Grellier (Fra) Direct Energie0:03:18
17Erik Baska (Svk) Bora-Hansgrohe0:03:30
18Timo Roosen (Ned) LottoNL-Jumbo0:03:34
19Amund Grøndahl Jansen (Nor) LottoNL-Jumbo0:03:39
20Przemyslaw Kasperkiewicz (Pol) Delko Marseille Provence KTM0:03:48
21Jasper De Buyst (Bel) Lotto Soudal0:04:04
22Magnus Cort (Den) Astana Pro Team0:04:21
23Dylan Groenewegen (Ned) LottoNL-Jumbo0:04:35
24Ivan Garcia (Spa) Bahrain-Merida0:05:15
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#Rider Name (Country) TeamResult
1Team Sky1:17:46
5Movistar Team0:02:11
6Astana Pro Team0:02:24
7Direct Energie0:02:37
8Team Sunweb0:02:44
9BMC Racing Team
10Quick-Step Floors0:02:48
11AG2R La Mondiale0:03:08
13Cofidis, Solutions Credits0:03:42
15EF Education First-Drapac p/b Cannondale0:03:59
16Lotto Soudal0:04:02
17UAE Team Emirates0:04:59
19Dimension Data
21Delko Marseille Provence KTM0:06:01
22Team LottoNl-Jumbo0:07:18
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General classification after stage 4
#Rider Name (Country) TeamResult
1Luis León Sanchez (Spa) Astana Pro Team13:47:57
2Wout Poels (Ned) Team Sky0:00:15
3Julian Alaphilippe (Fra) Quick-Step Floors0:00:26
4Marc Soler (Spa) Movistar Team
5Gorka Izagirre (Spa) Bahrain-Merida0:00:34
6Felix Grossschartner (Aut) Bora-Hansgrohe0:00:35
7Ion Izagirre (Spa) Bahrain-Merida0:00:42
8Tim Wellens (Bel) Lotto Soudal
9Sergio Henao (Col) Team Sky0:00:48
10Esteban Chaves (Col) Mitchelton-Scott
11Simon Yates (GBr) Mitchelton-Scott
12Patrick Konrad (Aut) Bora-Hansgrohe0:00:54
13Lilian Calmejane (Fra) Direct Energie0:00:57
14Dylan Teuns (Bel) BMC Racing Team0:01:00
15David De La Cruz (Spa) Team Sky0:01:15
16Tony Gallopin (Fra) AG2R La Mondiale0:01:19
17Alexis Vuillermoz (Fra) AG2R La Mondiale0:01:26
18Alessandro De Marchi (Ita) BMC Racing Team0:01:27
19Roman Kreuziger (Cze) Mitchelton-Scott0:01:29
20Rudy Molard (Fra) Groupama-FDJ0:01:30
21Sam Oomen (Ned) Team Sunweb0:01:33
22Dan Martin (Irl) UAE Team Emirates0:01:36
23Lawson Craddock (USA) EF Education First-Drapac p/b Cannondale0:01:44
24Bauke Mollema (Ned) Trek-Segafredo0:01:50
25Arnaud Demare (Fra) Groupama-FDJ
26Mike Teunissen (Ned) Team Sunweb0:01:56
27Robert Gesink (Ned) LottoNL-Jumbo0:02:03
28Delio Fernandez Cruz (Spa) Delko Marseille Provence KTM0:02:06
29Heinrich Haussler (Aus) Bahrain-Merida0:02:09
30Jarlinson Pantano (Col) Trek-Segafredo0:02:11
31Richard Carapaz (Ecu) Movistar Team0:02:14
32Cyril Gautier (Fra) AG2R La Mondiale0:02:15
33Jesus Herrada (Spa) Cofidis, Solutions Credits0:02:21
34Michael Valgren (Den) Astana Pro Team0:02:22
35Ilnur Zakarin (Rus) Katusha-Alpecin0:02:41
36Manuele Boaro (Ita) Bahrain-Merida0:02:42
37Jakob Fuglsang (Den) Astana Pro Team0:02:44
38Matteo Trentin (Ita) Mitchelton-Scott0:02:47
39Thomas Boudat (Fra) Direct Energie0:02:52
40Remy Di Gregorio (Fra) Delko Marseille Provence KTM0:02:55
41Pawel Poljanski (Pol) Bora-Hansgrohe0:03:00
42Laurent Pichon (Fra) Fortuneo-Samsic0:03:02
43Maurits Lammertink (Ned) Katusha-Alpecin0:03:08
44Maxime Bouet (Fra) Fortuneo-Samsic0:03:16
45Natnael Berhane (Eri) Dimension Data0:03:17
46Dries Devenyns (Bel) Quick-Step Floors0:03:27
47Sylvain Chavanel (Fra) Direct Energie0:03:28
48Jose Herrada (Spa) Cofidis, Solutions Credits0:03:40
49Warren Barguil (Fra) Fortuneo-Samsic0:03:42
50Amael Moinard (Fra) Fortuneo-Samsic0:03:46
51Romain Combaud (Fra) Delko Marseille Provence KTM0:03:52
52Serge Pauwels (Bel) Dimension Data0:03:53
53Nicolas Roche (Irl) BMC Racing Team0:04:01
54Julien El Fares (Fra) Delko Marseille Provence KTM0:04:04
55Anthony Delaplace (Fra) Fortuneo-Samsic0:04:06
56Tiago Machado (Por) Katusha-Alpecin0:04:07
57Koen de Kort (Ned) Trek-Segafredo0:04:10
58Ian Boswell (USA) Katusha-Alpecin0:04:17
59Mikael Cherel (Fra) AG2R La Mondiale0:04:20
60Timo Roosen (Ned) LottoNL-Jumbo0:04:21