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Paris-Nice stage 3 – Live coverage

Paris Nice 2021 stage 3 profile

(Image credit: ASO)

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Paris-Nice 2021 stage 3 time trial start times

Stage 3 result

1 Stefan Bissegger (Swi) EF Education-Nippo 0:17:34.120

2 Rémi Cavagna (Fra) Deceuninck-QuickStep 0:17:34.950

3 Primož Roglič (Slo) Jumbo-Visma 0:17:40.760

4 Brandon McNulty (USA) UAE Team Emirates 0:17:43.540

5 Søren Kragh Andersen (Den) Team DSM 0:17:44.950

6 Rohan Dennis (Aus) Ineos Grenadiers 0:17:47.640

7 Christophe Laporte (Fra) Cofidis 0:17:47.920

8 Dylan van Baarle (Ned) Ineos Grenadiers 0:17:48.110

9 Yves Lampaert (Bel) Deceuninck-QuickStep 0:17:50.300

10 Patrick Bevin (NZl) Israel Start-Up Nation 0:17:50.670

General classification after stage 3

1 Stefan Bissegger (Swi) EF Education-Nippo  8:37:11

2 Rémi Cavagna (Fra) Deceuninck-QuickStep

3 Primož Roglič (Slo) Jumbo-Visma  0:00:06

4 Brandon McNulty (USA) UAE Team Emirates  0:00:09

5 Michael Matthews (Aus) Team BikeExchange

6 Søren Kragh Andersen (Den) Team DSM  0:00:10

7 Mads Pedersen (Den) Trek-Segafredo  0:00:12

8 Christophe Laporte (Fra) Cofidis  0:00:13

9 Dylan van Baarle (Ned) Ineos Grenadiers  0:00:14

10 Yves Lampaert (Bel) Deceuninck-QuickStep  0:00:15

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Hello and welcome to our live coverage of stage 3 of Paris-Nice, a 14.4-kilometre time trial in the central French town of Gien.

We're around 130 kilometres south of Paris today, so making progress south towards Nice. With six stages and 570 kilometres (as the crow flies) remaining in the race, there's still a very long way to go, though.

Michael Matthews (Team BikeExchange) leads the race after stage 2. He'll be the last man to set off at 15:45 CET. 

Maxime Bouet (Arkea-Samsic) will kick off the time trial in just over 10 minutes' time.

Click here for a full rundown of today's start times.

Matthews sprinted into yellow after taking bonus seconds at each intermediate sprint as well as the finish. Cees Bol (Team DSM) took the stage win after a crash-affected run to the line. The Dutchman overhauled Mads Pedersen (Trek-Segafredo) in the closing metres.

Check here for our full stage 2 report.

Team Sunweb rider Netherlands Cees Bol L celebrates as he crosses the finish line at the end of the 2nd stage of the 79th Paris Nice cycling race 188 km between OinvillesurMontcent and Amilly on March 8 2021 Photo by AnneChristine POUJOULAT POOL AFP Photo by ANNECHRISTINE POUJOULATPOOLAFP via Getty Images

(Image credit: Getty Images)

Maxime Bouet (Arkea-Samsic) has just set off and the time trial is under way.

The riders will all be setting off at one-minute intervals today.

Chris Lawless (Total Direct Energie) and Kaden Groves (BikeExchange) are next to start. Seven minutes until Rohan Dennis gets under way.

There's one checkpoint out on today's course, and it comes at the 7km mark. 

The route is quite a technical one, offering twisting sections in the middle after a nice straight to ease into the effort. Starting and ending by the Loire, the main difficulties come near the start and finish, with a 350-metre, 11 per cent wall coming in the opening 2km and a 400-metre, six per cent run up to the finish line.

paris nice 2021 stage 3 map

(Image credit: ASO)

Dennis starts his effort. He finished 2:38 down yesterday, so was likely saving himself for today's ride.

The ex-TT world champion will face some stern competition in the form of race favourite Primož Roglič (Jumbo-Visma), and World Hour Record holder Victor Campenaerts (Qhubeka Asssos), as well as the likes of Stefan Bissegger (EF Education-Nippo), Søren Kragh Andersen (Team DSM), and Rémi Cavagna (Deceuninck-Quickstep).

Race leader, the versatile Michael Matthews, is also a strong time trialist and could very well hold onto yellow today. He took seventh in the 15.1km time trial at this race last year.

Bouet is quickest through the checkpoint so far in 9:21, an average speed of
42.995kph. Not that it means much at this stage.

Jonas Rutsch (EF Education-Nippo) is now fastest at the checkpoin with a 9:04. Meanwhile, Bouet has finished with a time of 19:01 – a 45.434kph average.

Dennis has duly gone fastest at the checkpoint, a full 2.2kph faster than anyone else so far. His time of 8:38 puts him top by 26 seconds.

Nobody else has broken the nine-minute barrier at the 7km checkpoint yet.

Rutsch is top at the finish with a time of 18:31.

A look at Dennis out on the course today.

GIEN FRANCE MARCH 09 Rohan Dennis of Australia and Team INEOS Grenadiers during the 79th Paris Nice 2021 Stage 3 a 144km Individual Time Trial stage from Gien to Gien 147m ITT ParisNice on March 09 2021 in Gien France Photo by Bas CzerwinskiGetty Images

(Image credit: Getty Images Sport)

Patrick Bevin (Israel Start-Up Nation) goes second at the checkpoint with a time of 8:48.

Meanwhile, Dennis is unsurprisingly fastest at the finish. His time of 17:47 blows away Rutsch's 18:31. The Australian put 1:43 into his minute man, Ignatas Konovalovas, who is no slouch himself as a one-time Giro time trial winner back in 2009.

Bevin, Jasha Sütterlin (Team DSM) and Miles Scotson (BikeExchange) are the only men, along with Dennis, to break the nine-minute barrier at the checkpoint, but nobody is close to the Ineos man so far.

KOM leader Fabien Doubey (Total Direct Energie) in his polka dot skinsuit.

Team Total Direct Energie rider Frances Fabien Doubey wearing the best climbers polka dot jersey competes during the 3rd stage of the 79th Paris Nice cycling race a 144km individual timetrial from Gien to Gien on March 9 2021 Photo by AnneChristine POUJOULAT AFP Photo by ANNECHRISTINE POUJOULATAFP via Getty Images

(Image credit: Getty Images Sport)

After finishing, Dennis said that he'd averaged 40 watts more than expected today. The Australian said he hopes it's enough for the win on what he described as a technical and punchy course.

Jumbo-Visma's Tony Martin is third at the checkpoint, 13 seconds down on Dennis. The German hasn't finished on the podium of a WorldTour time trial since taking second at the stage 4 TT at the 2017 Dauphiné.

His teammate and fellow time trial specialist Jos Van Emden has also started his effort.

Tony Martin out on the course.

Paris Nice 2021 - 79th Edition - 3rd stage Gien - Gien 14,4 km 09/03/2021 - - photo Roberto Bettini/BettiniPhoto©2021

(Image credit: Bettini Photo)

Bevin and Scotson have slotted into second and third at the finish.

Bevin was just three seconds down on Dennis! He made up seven seconds over the second half of the course. What an effort. Scotson finished 17 seconds further back.

Thomas De Gendt's time of 8:48 is equal to Bevin at the checkpoint. Will the Lotto Soudal man outdo him in the second half?

Martin's 18:01 at the finish is good for third so far.

32 seconds separate the top five at the finish so far.

De Gendt had a quick start but couldn't match Bevin or Dennis (or Martin) in the second half. He's fourth-fastest with a time of 18:05.

An 8:45 for Jacopo Guarnieri (Groupama-FDJ) at the checkpoint puts him within seven seconds of Dennis.

17:59 for Van Emden puts him provisional third, two seconds up on Martin.

Meanwhile Guarnieri has gone from third at the checkpoint to 46th at the finish. Not sure what's happened there...

Dylan Van Baarle (Ineos Grenadiers), Matthias Brandle (Israel Start-Up Nation) and Ion Izagirre (Astana-Premier Tech) have had good starts. 8:42, 8:45 and 8:45 for the trio puts them second, fourth and fifth respectively at the checkpoint.

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17:48.110 for Van Baarle at the finish! That's only half a second down on Dennis'  time of 17:47.640.

Here's Dutch TT champion Jos Van Emden out on course earlier. Provisional fourth for him at the moment.

GIEN FRANCE MARCH 09 Jos Van Emden of Netherlands and Team Jumbo Visma during the 79th Paris Nice 2021 Stage 3 a 144km Individual Time Trial stage from Gien to Gien 147m ITT ParisNice on March 09 2021 in Gien France Photo by Bas CzerwinskiGetty Images

(Image credit: Getty Images Sport)

Alexey Lutsenko almost loses it on a downhill corner, but just manages to stop before running out of road. He was sixth at the first checkpoint.

His teammate Ion Izagirre goes fourth fastest, just eight seconds down on Dennis.

18:06 and provisional ninth for Lutsenko at the finish line.

Magnus Cort (EF Education-Nippo), Warren Barguil (Arkea-Samsic), Casper Pedersen (Team DSM), Rui Costa (UAE Team Emirates) and Steven Kruijswijk (Jumbo-Visma) are some of the notable names out on course at the moment.

Few riders are making a dent in the standings at the first checkpoint at the moment. 

Magnus Cort crosses the line in sixth, 12 seconds down on Dennis at 17:59.

Kruijwsijk is flying – his time of 8:42 at the checkpoint is second fastest so far, four seconds down on Dennis.

Giro champion Tao Geoghegan Hart is out on course now. He's chased by AG2R's Bob Jungels.

The Briton is looking good on the early climb. We're waiting for Kruijwsijk to finish though – he's still 4.5 kilometres out.

Fabio Aru in his new Qhubeka Assos colours. He was 27th at the checkpoint.

GIEN FRANCE MARCH 09 Fabio Aru of Italy and Team Qhubeka Assos during the 79th Paris Nice 2021 Stage 3 a 144km Individual Time Trial stage from Gien to Gien 147m ITT ParisNice on March 09 2021 in Gien France Photo by Bas CzerwinskiGetty Images

(Image credit: Getty Images Sport)

Andrey Amador (Ineos Grenadiers) is the slowest man so far. His time of 20:40 is almost three minutes slower than teammate Dennis.

A 17:54 for Kruijswijk. That's a great time for the Dutchman and puts him fourth.

8:56 for Geoghegan Hart at the checkpoint, good for 17th. Bob Jungels passes through a minute later and a second slower.

Geoghegan Hart will be hoping for a quicker second half of the TT. If he finishes in 17th he'd be the best part of three-quarters of a minute down on Dennis, which wouldn't bode well for a potential GC battle with Primož Roglič.

8:45 and sixth at the checkpoint for Dylan Teuns (Bahrain Victorious). Warren Barguil (Arkea-Samsic) finishes exactly a minute down on Dennis.

Søren Kragh Andersen is one to watch today. He won the time trial at Saint-Amand-Montrond here last year. He sets off in three minutes.

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8:46 and seventh at the checkpoint for Astana's Omar Fraile. Jumbo-Visma's George Bennett also put in a nice time, 16th at 8:54.

Reigning champion Max Schachmann (Bora-Hansgrohe) is out on course now, along with Lotto Soudal man Philippe Gilbert, and DSM's Søren Kragh Andersen.

Geoghegan Hart finishes in 16th place at 18:18. That's 31 seconds down on Dennis.

Kruijwsijk out on the course during his top ride earlier. 

Jungels finishes in provisional 13th place at 18:12.

Team Jumbo rider Netherlands Steven Kruijswijk competes during the 3rd stage of the 79th Paris Nice cycling race a 144km individual timetrial from Gien to Gien on March 9 2021 Photo by AnneChristine POUJOULAT AFP Photo by ANNECHRISTINE POUJOULATAFP via Getty Images

(Image credit: Getty Images Sport)

A top result for Dylan Teuns (Bahrain Victorious). He finishes 11 seconds down in sixth place.

Now Neilson Powless is impressing. The American EF rider is fourth at the checkpoint with a time of 8:43.

Matteo Trentin (UAE Team Emirates), Pierre Latour (Total Direct Energie) and Jai Hindley (Team DSM) are out on course, too.

This man heads off in nine minutes' time. Can he overhaul Dennis to take the win? Aleksandr Vlasov (Astana-Premier Tech) will follow him.

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Omar Fraile has had a good day out, taking ninth at the finish, 12 seconds down on Dennis.

...and the Spaniard falls to 10th shortly afterwards as Schachmann takes sixth, just eight seconds behind Dennis. It's tight at the top.

Kragh Andersen is flying! He's top at the checkpoint with a time of 8:36. That's two seconds up on Dennis.

Powless faeded to 14th after his strong start.

Victor Campenaerts (Qhubeka Assos) sets off to start his ride.

Roglič is off now, too, a minute behind Guillaume Martin (Cofidis).

Kragh Andersen climbs to the finish and he's done it! The Dane has beaten Dennis' time.

He cuts it fine, freewheeling the final few metres... but his time of 17:44 is three seconds quicker than the Australian.

Mattia Cattaneo (Deceuninck-QuickStep) turns sixth at the checkpoint into eighth at the finish with a time of 17:56.

Campenaerts is seventh at the checkpoint, eight seconds down. Roglič goes second, two seconds down, while Martin is 55th, 30 seconds down. Vlasov is eighth, also eight seconds down.

Gaudu, Bissegger, Cavagna and McNulty have started their rides.

Giro d'Italia runner-up Jai Hindley finishes in 47th place, a full 52 seconds down on his teammate Kragh Andersen.

Meanwhile, French TT champion Rémi Cavagna is quickest at the checkpoint. His time of 8:33 means he's the first to average over 47kph to that point.

Felix Großschartner (Bora-Hansgrohe) passes through soon after, just seven seconds back.

20 minutes to go until the final man, Michael Matthews, sets off. Out on the road, Roglič has passed Guillaume Martin after 15 minutes of racing.

Victor Campenaerts crosses the line in 18th place, 22 seconds down on Kragh Andersen. That is not good at all from the time trial specialist.

Roglič comes to the finish and he sprints all the way to the line. Unsurprisingly he's the fastest man of the lot so far, four seconds faster than Kragh Andersen with a time of 17:40.

Stefan Bissegger (EF Education-Nippo) has gone quicker than Cavagna at the checkpoint. A full three seconds up! Brandon McNulty (UAE Team Emirates) goes third, a few tenths down on Cavagna.

Vlasov finishes 10th at 17:56.

McNulty catches teammate Alexander Kristoff after just 10 minutes. Meanwhile, Cavagna is into the final kilometre...

Cavagna catches his two-minute man Kristian Sbaraglia at the bottom of the hill and power up to the fastets time! 17:34 and six seconds up on Roglič! Huge ride.

Bissegger and McNulty – first and third at the checkpoint – are the next riders to keep an eye. They'll be at the finish before long.

The top 10 will be starting their rides in a matter of minutes.

A 49.184kph average for Cavagna during his ride. Pretty quick...

David Gaudu (Groupama-FDJ) sheds 52 seconds to his countryman today. He crossed the line in 43rd place.

Stefan Bissegger puts in an amazing effort to shave less than a second off Cavagna's time! Wow...

He didn't have a TV moto with him so we didn't see him until the finish.

This is Bissegger's first full season as a pro, just to remind you.

Cavagna will be rueing tha brief holdup behind Sbaragli as the pair turned onto the climb to the finish. That could've lost him the race.

McNulty fades in the second half of the race. He finishes fourth with a time of 17:43.

The last riders are preparing to head out now. We'll keep an eye on 11th-placed Yves Lampaert (Deceuninck-QuickStep), who is a very quick time trialist.

Swift, Stuyven, Vermeersch, Benoot and Greipel are off. Démare, Bol, Bennett, Pedersen and Matthews to follow.

Matthews will need to finish within 14 seconds of Bissegger to hang onto his yellow jersey for another day.

Christophe Laporte (Cofidis) was sixth at the checkpoint and has just caught his minute man Rudy Barbier after 13 minutes of racing.

He's a very good all-rounder who can sprint and get over the hills, too, but it'd be a surprise if he were to top the standings at the finish.

Sam Bennett is off in his green jersey skinsuit. Next up is world champion Mads Pedersen, and then race leader Michael 'Bling' Matthews.

Laporte comes to the finish and crosses the line in seventh place with a time of 17:47. That's just short of Rohan Dennis' time.

Matthews hits the early climb, bobbing up and down on the bike on the steeep slopes.

Up the road, Lampaert's time at the check was good for ninth place. He has 12 seconds to make up if he's to win today.

Few of the riders currently out on course will be challenging at the top of the standings. We're really just watching for Lampaert and Matthews now. 

Politt was 42nd at the checkpoint, Swift 133rd, Stuyven 89th, Vermeersch 24th, Benoot 39th, Greipel 94th, Démare 102nd, Bol 68th...

A look at Bissegger during his effort earlier – the fastest so far.

Lampaert doesn't trouble the Swiss youngster's time. He finishes ninth at 17:50.

GIEN FRANCE MARCH 09 Stefan Bissegger of Switzerland and Team EF Education Nippo during the 79th Paris Nice 2021 Stage 3 a 144km Individual Time Trial stage from Gien to Gien 147m ITT ParisNice on March 09 2021 in Gien France Photo by Bas CzerwinskiGetty Images

(Image credit: Getty Images Sport)

Matthews crosses the checkpoint in a time of 8:42, meaning he's shed 11.55 seconds to Bissegger at the halfway mark. Barring a fantastic second half, he's not going to hang on to yellow today.

The Australian is 10th quickest though, so a nice time for him regardless.

The second half of the course features more downhill sections in contrast to the hillier first half.

A number of riders crossing the line to finish their efforts – Swift at 123nd, Stuyven at 71st, Vermeersch at 26th, Benoot at 45th, Greipel at 73rd.

Three kilometres remain for Matthews as Démare rides to the finish over a minute down on Bissegger.

Now stage 2 winner Bol comes to the line. He's just over a minute down, too.

Pedersen catches Bennett in the final kilometre. It's just those two and Matthews left to finish.

Pedersen is going well. He battles to the line to try and grab yellow but he finishes 14th at 22 seconds with a time of 17:56.

Matthews fights to the line but he's out of yellow. He grits his teeth as he pushes on but misses out on retaining the race lead. His final time is 17:57, good for 17th place.

Stefan Bissegger (EF Education-Nippo) has won stage 3 of Paris-Nice and will take over the race lead!

Bissegger leads the race ahead of Cavagna by less than a second. Roglič lies third at six seconds.

Matthews remains just nine seconds off the race lead, but with six second-cat climbs featuring on tomorrow's stage 4 with a 7.4km, 5.9 per cent first-cat climb to finish, he won't be back in it.

Bissegger celebrates his win and yellow jersey on the podium in Gien.

Team Education First rider Switzerlands Stefan Bissegger celebrates his overall leader yellow jersey on the podium after winning the 3rd stage of the 79th Paris Nice cycling race a 144km individual timetrial from Gien to Gien on March 9 2021 Photo by AnneChristine POUJOULAT AFP Photo by ANNECHRISTINE POUJOULATAFP via Getty Images

(Image credit: Getty Images Sport)

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UAE Tour 2021 3rd Edition 6th stage Deira Island Palm Jumeirah 165 km 26022021 Tadej Pogacar SLO UAE Team Emirates photo Luca BettiniBettiniPhoto2021

(Image credit: Bettini Photo)

Here's a look at tomorrow's stage, a hard 187.6-kilometre day from Chalon-sur-Saône to Chiroubles, north of Lyon. With the first uphill finish of the race on the menu, expect the GC contenders to come to the fore in the finale.

Paris Nice 2021 stage 4 profile

(Image credit: ASO)

Here's what Bissegger had to say after his win today, by the way.

"It means a lot to me – I worked a long time for it," he said. "I'm quite young, so I still have to establish myself to the others, but I think I could show today that I’m here and they have to be aware of me.

"Time trials like that are really my thing. I come from track, and the short punchy stuff is really good for me. It feels really great to finally show what I’m capable of and take the win here."

That's all for us today. We'll have more news and reaction coming through the afternoon and evening. Be sure to join us tomorrow for full live coverage of stage 4!

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