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Paris-Nice 2019: Stage 8


Good afternoon and welcome to the final stage of this year's Paris-Nice. The final stage has provided plenty of drama in recent seasons and we can only hope for more of the same today. The neutral start will take place around 10 minutes. 

The general classification is a little more spread out compared to the last few years, given the chaos that the crosswinds caused in the opening couple of days and the time that some lost in the time trial. After Michal Kwiatkowski cracked yesterday, it is his teammate Egan Bernal that wears the leader's yellow jersey today. 


1 Egan Bernal (Col) Team Sky 26:35:26
2 Philippe Gilbert (Bel) Deceuninck-QuickStep 0:00:45
3 Nairo Quintana (Col) Movistar Team 0:00:46
4 Michal Kwiatkowski (Pol) Team Sky 0:01:03
5 Jack Haig (Aus) Mitchelton-Scott 0:01:21
6 Romain Bardet (Fra) AG2R La Mondiale 0:01:45
7 George Bennett (NZl) Team Jumbo-Visma 0:02:20
8 Ilnur Zakarin (Rus) Katusha-Alpecin 0:02:52
9 Rudy Molard (Fra) Groupama-FDJ 0:03:02
10 Bob Jungels (Lux) Deceuninck-QuickStep 0:03:06


Philippe Gilbert is sitting in second place and he will be interesting to watch today. He got into the breakaway yesterday and managed to soar up the GC thanks to that. It's going to be hard for him to hold onto a podium finish, but he could well surprise us. Needless to say, he's unlikely to get into the breakaway today. 


As the riders roll out through the neutral start, we bring you news of a few non-starters. Four riders did not sign on this morning and they are Tony Gallopin (AG2R La Mondiale), Alexander Kristoff (UAE Team Emirates), Daniel McLay (Education First) and Christophe Laporte (Cofidis).


If you want to catch up on yesterday's stage, you have enough time to watch the short highlights package before today's stage gets underway properly. You can find that here.


Another rider to keep an eye out for today will be Thomas De Gendt. It will be hard to miss him in his polka dot jersey, though. He currently leads the mountains classification by 21 points over Alessandro De Marchi. We can expect De Gendt and De Marchi to go on the attack today with so many mountains points up for grabs on this difficult day. 


It really is between De Gendt and De Marchi for the mountains classification with everyone else too far back at this point. 


1 Thomas De Gendt (Bel) Lotto Soudal 64 pts
2 Alessandro De Marchi (Ita) CCC Team 43
3 Damien Gaudin (Fra) Direct Energie 21
4 Daniel Martinez (Col) EF Education First 14
5 Giulio Ciccone (Ita) Trek-Segafredo 12
6 Miguel Angel Lopez (Col) Astana Pro Team 11
7 Jack Bauer (NZl) Mitchelton-Scott 10
8 Simon Yates (GBr) Mitchelton-Scott 10
9 Eduard-Michael Grosu (Rom) Delko Marseille Provence KTM 9
10 Elie Gesbert (Fra) Arkéa Samsic 8


A few minutes ahead of schedule, the flag drops for racing. The stage is just 110 kilometres so it should be a fast day out. 


As you can see, it's pretty sunny out there but there are some dark clouds about. Let's hope it stays dry. 


Some early attacks and five riders have a small gap on the peloton. 


103km remaining from 110km

Make that four riders now, they are: Matteo Trentin, Nils Politt, Amael Moinard and Niccolo Bonifazio. They have just 15 seconds on the peloton at the moment. 


The gap is going out, but very slowly. It is just 20 seconds and the peloton is not letting this one go easily. 


With everything still relatively close together, the riders hit the first climb of the day the Cote de Levens. It is a second category ascent at 6.2km in length and with an average gradient of 5.6 per cent. 


Riders are coming across to the lead group with the gap now down to 10 seconds on this climb. There are now 10 riders up front and they are: Ilnur Zakarin, Bob Jungels, Lilian Calmajane, Dylan Teuns, Daniel Martinez, Ion Izagirre, Matteo Trentin, Nils Politt, Amael Moinard and Niccolo Bonifazio.


91km remaining from 110km

As I wrote that, Bob Jungels decided that this move wasn't getting away quickly enough and has attacked on his own. Meanwhile, Luis Leon Sanchez has attacked from the peloton and is trying to join the breakaway. 


Lots of attacking still going on up this first climb of the day. Bob Jungels is still in the lead, but we now have 11 riders in the group behind him. Sanchez and his teammate Miguel Angel Lopez have bridged over. 


Meanwhile, news coming in that De Gendt has attacked from the peloton, gone right through the chasing group and is now up front with Bob Jungels. It's all going on at the moment. 


At present, Jungels and De Gendt have 40 seconds on the peloton as they crest the first climb. We don't yet have a proper time check on the chasing group in the middle.


Unsurprisingly, De Gendt took the points at the top of the climb to add another seven to his tally. They charge down this descent as they make their way to the second ascent of the day the Cote de Chateauneuf. 


The descent has given some of the riders in the chasing group an opportunity to get up to our two leaders. We now have 20 riders up front and a 10-rider chase group. I'll bring you names momentarily. 


81km remaining from 110km

That group up front continues to grow and tracking has it at 37 riders now. Another big breakaway move today. 


Settle yourself in for this one with a good brew because this is a long list of escapees. The leading group consists of Marc Soler, Winner Anacona, Hector Carretero, Simon Yates, Matteo Trentin, Miguel Angel Lopez, Hugo Houle, Ion Izagirre, Luis Leon Sanchez, Thomas De Gendt, Domenico Pozzovivo, Sonny Colbrelli, Ivan Garcia, Dylan Teuns, Patrick Konrad, Felix Grosschartner, Oliver Naesen, Sergio Henao, Julien Bernard, Valentin Madouas, Bob Jungels, Ilnur Zakarin, Nils Politt, Simon Spilak, Elie Gesbert, Amael Moinard, Daniel Martinez, Tejay van Garderen, Wilco Kelderman, Nicolas Edet, Pierre-Luc Perichon, Amaro Antunes, ALessandro De Marchi, Lilian Calmejane, Jonathan Hivert, Quentin Pacher and Julien El Fares.


Interesting to see Marc Soler and Ion Izagirre up there. In this stage last year they were contesting the overall classification. This time, they are out there in hope of salvaging something after losing a lot of time in the opening stages. 


Matteo Trentin has decided to push on alone for a bit. He has 10 seconds on the main breakaway group as they pass over the top of the second climb of the day. He leads the peloton by 1:30. 


The best placed rider overall from the main first chasing group behind is Ilnur Zakarin. He is 2:52 behind Bernal in the overall classification and could salvage a good GC result if this breakaway works out. 


That's it from me. I'm going to hand you over to Daniel Ostanek once again to guide you through to the finale of today's stage. 


Daniel here. The break have just crested the second climb of the day, the Côte de Chateauneuf. Trentin was first over, followed by De Gendt, who collects 5 more points towards the mountain classification.


The peloton heads over 1:45 back.

Thomas De Gendt is now just one point away from securing the polka-dot jersey outright.


Tejay Van Garderen (EF Education First) and Julien El Fares (Delko Marseille Provence) are chasing Trentin now. They're 10 seconds back. The rest of the break is around 20 seconds behind the European champion.


65km remaining from 110km

A group of around 20 riders from the peloton, including race leader Egan Bernal, have broken away on the Col de Calaison. Up front, Van Garderen and El Fares are together.


This second category climb is the third of six climbs on the stage. It's 6.3km long and averages 4.3%.


So the lead group are 30 seconds ahead of the remainder of the break. Meanwhile the peloton lingers 1:30 back.


The hardest climbs of the stage are yet to come, with the first category Côte de Peille and Col d'Eze coming in the second half of the stage.


It'll take some effort to overhaul race leader Bernal and his 45-second lead though. The 22-year-old looks all set to take a second WorldTour stage race victory later this afternoon.


60km remaining from 110km

Over the top of the Col de Calaison and it's Trentin with the max points once again. Van Garderen and El Fares follow, while De Gendt wasn't in the top five.


Trentin is no danger to De Gendt's haul though – he started the day with 2 points to De Gendt's 64.


50 seconds between the leaders and the chasers now. 1:35 back to the peloton, who are keeping the break on a tight leash.


48km remaining from 110km

Down to 1:05 back to the peloton now, as the riders reach the final 50km.


47km remaining from 110km

And Nairo Quintana attacks! He needs to make up 46 seconds on Bernal today.


Van Garderen is alone out front now.


Team Sky take to the front of the peloton looking to shut down the Quintana threat. The Colombian is up in the break now, with Soler and Anacona.


Van Garderen was first over the first category Côte de Peille. Carretero is also with Quintana in the group behind.


44km remaining from 110km

Quintana is now the virtual race leader by ten seconds, according to on-screen graphics. That would mean the chase group he's in is 56 seconds up on the peloton. Hmm.


The now-greatly reduced break group that Quintana is riding with is around ten seconds back on Van Garderen.


And the Movistar-led break group has caught Van Garderen now. They're a minute up on the Sky-led Bernal group, or the 'peloton'.


41km remaining from 110km

Just Soler with Quintana now. The duo lead the break over the top of the Côte de Peille. 50 seconds back to the peloton.


There are twelve men in the break group.

Quintana has Soler for company. Lopez, Ion Izagirre, Sánchez, Yates, Van Garderen, Martínez, Pozzovivo, Großschartner, Naesen and Kelderman are also there.


33km remaining from 110km

Still around 45-50 seconds back to the peloton from that lead group.


Bernal has five men with him at the head of the peloton.


28km remaining from 110km

The break are on the Col d'Eze now. It's 1.6km at 8.1%. 40 seconds back to the peloton.


25km remaining from 110km

Quintana led over the top of Eze. They're on the descent now, 50 seconds up on the Bernal group.


This situation is very reminiscent of the 2016 and 2017 editions of the race, where a GC attack came from around 50km out on the Côte de Peille while Team Sky chased behind.


Alberto Contador was the man on the attack on both occasions, and both times he lost out on the overall win by a handful of seconds after taking second in Nice and missing out on the extra bonus seconds.


At the moment Quintana is 20km away from another touch-and-go scenario just like that.



20km remaining from 110km

The gap is jumping around from 40 seconds to 1:20 right now, adding to the suspense...


Just the Col de Quatre Chemins remaining now, with the summit coming 10km from the line. The climb is 5.5km long with an average of 5.4%.


Quintana calls for some co-operation in the group. His companions are reluctant to come through, despite the stage win potentially up for grabs here.


14km remaining from 110km

The virtual GC is swinging a few seconds either way for Bernal and Quintana, but seems to be heading Bernal's way right now. The gap is down to around 35 seconds according to the GPS. The break are on the final climb of the day.


13km remaining from 110km

Van Garderen is driving away from the break now. Ion Izagirre is with him and goes on alone!


Quintana continues to lead the group, around 45 seconds up on the Sky group.


11km remaining from 110km

Izagirre is 20 seconds up on the Quintana group now. The peloton is 55 seconds back, so Bernal is the virtual leader once again.


10km remaining from 110km

Romain Bardet has attacked from the peloton.


And Yates attacks from the Quintana group!


9km remaining from 110km

Izagirre goes over the top of the climb. Almost all downhill now for the Astana man.


6km remaining from 110km

It looks as though Izagirre will take this, assuming he stays upright. The big question will be about Quintana's advantage over the Bernal group. It doesn't look good for the Movistar man's chances of taking the overall win.


5km remaining from 110km

29 seconds between the Quintana and Bernal groups, according to the GPS. Izagirre is 20 seconds ahead out front.


2km remaining from 110km

Final 2km for Izagirre now. Bernal is just 33 seconds back. The yellow jersey is his.

Izagirre takes the stage win! Naesen and Kelderman lead the chase group in 18 seconds down.


The Bernal group came in just a few seconds down. He is the winner of Paris-Nice 2019.


Stage result


1 Ion Izagirre Insausti (Spa) Astana Pro Team 02:41:10
2 Oliver Naesen (Bel) AG2R La Mondiale 02:41:28
3 Wilco Kelderman (Ned) Team Sunweb 02:41:28
4 Daniel Martinez (Col) EF Education First 02:41:28
5 Felix Großschartner (Aut) Bora-Hansgrohe 02:41:28
6 Domenico Pozzovivo (Ita) Bahrain-Merida 02:41:28
7 Luis León Sanchez (Spa) Astana Pro Team 02:41:28
8 Simon Yates (GBr) Mitchelton-Scott 02:41:30
9 Tejay Van Garderen (USA) EF Education First 02:41:30
10 Nairo Quintana (Col) Movistar Team 02:41:32


General Classification


1 Egan Bernal (Col) Team Sky 29:17:02
2 Nairo Quintana (Col) Movistar Team 29:17:41
3 Michal Kwiatkowski (Pol) Team Sky 29:18:05
4 Jack Haig (Aus) Mitchelton-Scott 29:18:23
5 Romain Bardet (Fra) AG2R La Mondiale 29:18:47
6 George Bennett (NZl) Team Jumbo-Visma 29:19:22


Egan Bernal is the overall winner as well as the best young rider, Michał Kwiatkowski takes the green points jersey and Thomas De Gendt wins the polka dot jersey of the mountain classification.


Bernal and Quintana take to the final podium to chants of COLOMBIA, COLOMBIA from the crowd.


It has been a great weekend for riders from the country here, with Daniel Martínez (EF Education First) taking the stage win ahead of Miguel Ángel Lopez (Astana) yesterday.


That;s all for us at a great edition of Paris-Nice. Be sure to come back tomorrow to follow the penultimate stage of Tirreno-Adriatico live with us!


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