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Paris-Nice reaches its midpoint with a short but pivotal time trial.  Before the race ever began, Primož Roglič (Jumbo-Visma) was favoured to steal a march on his GC rivals here, but after his team's startling exhibition on stage 1, he rolls down the start ramp in Domérat already half a minute or so up on the men with designs on denying him yellow in Nice. Although today's time trial is just 13.4km in length, there is scope for the Slovenian to gain significantly more ground by the finish in Montluçon. Either way, with Christophe Laporte in the overall lead, Wout van Aert just a second down and Roglič in third at 9 seconds, the yellow jersey seems likely to stay with Jumbo-Visma this afternoon. 

There are two notable non-starters to report on day 4. Both Ben O'Connor (AG2R-Citroën) and two-time winner Max Schachmann (Bora-Hansgrohe) have withdrawn due to illness. Read more about O'Connor's abandon here.

LEVENS FRANCE MARCH 14 Podium Maximilian Schachmann of Germany and Team Bora Hansgrohe Yellow Leader Jersey Celebration during the 79th Paris Nice 2021 Stage 8 a 927km stage from Le PlanduVar to Levens 518m Lion Mascot Mask COVID safety measures Stage itinerary redesigned due to COVID19 lockdown imposed in the city of Nice ParisNice on March 14 2021 in Levens France Photo by Bas CzerwinskiGetty Images

(Image credit: Getty Images Sport)

General classification after stage 3

1          Christophe Laporte (Fra) Jumbo-Visma        11:34:44

2          Wout van Aert (Bel) Jumbo-Visma    0:00:01

3          Primoz Roglic (Slo) Jumbo-Visma    0:00:09

4          Mads Pedersen (Den) Trek-Segafredo           0:00:29

5          Bryan Coquard (Fra) Cofidis  0:00:33

6          Pierre Latour (Fra) TotalEnergies     

7          Zdenek Stybar (Cze) Quick-Step Alpha Vinyl Team 0:00:38

8          Jasper Stuyven (Bel) Trek-Segafredo 0:00:39

9          Aleksandr Vlasov (Rus) Bora-Hansgrohe     

10        Florian Senechal (Fra) Quick-Step Alpha Vinyl Team         

11        Ben O'Connor (Aus) AG2R Citroen Team   

12        Nairo Quintana (Col) Arkea-Samsic 

13        Luis Leon Sanchez (Spa) Bahrain Victorious

14        Stan Dewulf (Bel) AG2R Citroen Team       

15        Clément Champoussin (Fra) AG2R Citroen Team   

16        Jack Haig (Aus) Bahrain Victorious 

17        Adam Yates (GBr) Ineos Grenadiers

18        Daniel Martinez Poveda (Col) Ineos Grenadiers      

19        Søren Kragh Andersen (Den) Team DSM    

20        Simon Yates (GBr) BikeExchange-Jayco

The full start order for today's time trial is available here. The final twenty riders down the start ramp set off at the following times:

127      Simon Yates (GBr) BikeExchange-Jayco      15:11:00

128      Søren Kragh Andersen (Den) Team DSM     15:12:00

129      Daniel Martinez Poveda (Col) Ineos Grenadiers       15:13:00

130      Adam Yates (GBr) Ineos Grenadiers 15:14:00

131      Jack Haig (Aus) Bahrain Victorious  15:15:00

132      Clément Champoussin (Fra) AG2R Citroen Team    15:17:00

133      Stan Dewulf (Bel) AG2R Citroen Team        15:19:00

134      Luis Leon Sanchez (Spa) Bahrain Victorious 15:21:00

135      Nairo Quintana (Col) Arkea-Samsic  15:23:00

136      B̶e̶n̶ ̶O̶'̶C̶o̶n̶n̶o̶r̶ ̶(̶A̶u̶s̶)̶ ̶A̶G̶2̶R̶ ̶C̶i̶t̶r̶o̶e̶n̶ ̶T̶e̶a̶m̶    15:25:00

137      Florian Senechal (Fra) Quick-Step Alpha Vinyl Team          15:27:00

138      Aleksandr Vlasov (Rus) Bora-Hansgrohe      15:29:00

139      Jasper Stuyven (Bel) Trek-Segafredo 15:31:00

140      Zdenek Stybar (Cze) Quick-Step Alpha Vinyl Team 15:33:00

141      Pierre Latour (Fra) TotalEnergies      15:35:00

142      Bryan Coquard (Fra) Cofidis  15:37:00

143      Mads Pedersen (Den) Trek-Segafredo           15:39:00

144      Primoz Roglic (Slo) Jumbo-Visma    15:41:00

145      Wout van Aert (Bel) Jumbo-Visma    15:43:00

146      Christophe Laporte (Fra) Jumbo-Visma        15:45:00

Dmitriy Gruzdev (Astana-Qazaqstan) was the first rider down the start ramp, and the Kazakhstani is expected at the finish shortly.

Rohan Dennis (Jumbo-Visma) has started his effort and the Australian ought to be the early pace-setter on this course. Despite its brevity, this is by no means a straightforward time trial. The course is twisting and rolling, rather than straight and flat. There is a kilometre of climbing at 5% shortly after the start and the course finishes with a stiff kick to the line. The category 3 Côte de la Rue Buffon is 700m at an average gradient of 8.6%.

Finn Fisher-Black (UAE Team Emirates) has the best time at the finish after five riders. His mark is 17:33, some 26 seconds clear of Michael Mørkøv (QuickStep-AlphaVinyl).

Thomas De Gent (Lotto Soudal) has reached the finish 6 seconds quicker than Fisher-Black, but that time will soon be superseded by Rohan Dennis, who hit the 7km mark in 8:40, some 27 seconds clear of the rest.

Rohan Dennis sets a new fastest mark. His time of 16:26 puts him 1:01 clear of De Gendt and 1:05 up on Iljo Keisse (QuickStep-AlphaVinyl). The Australian looks set for a long stint in the hot seat this afternoon.

Ethan Hayter (Ineos) is out on the course and he will look to test himself, but Dennis' time could last all the way to the end of the afternoon, when his Jumbo-Visma teammates roll down the start ramp. Notable starters before the final wave include Brandon McNulty (13:54), João Almeida (14:43), Stefan Küng (14:46) and Stefan Bissegger (15:07). 

Hayter has the second best time at the 7km mark, 8 seconds down on the flying Dennis.

Hayter maintained his rhythm over the second half of the course, but he couldn't draw any closer to Dennis. He clocks 16:34 for the second best time, 8 seconds behind Dennis.

Time at finish

1 Rohan Dennis (Jumbo-Visma) 00:16:26

2 Ethan Hayter (Ineos) 00:00:08

3 Stefan De Bod (Astana-Qazaqstan) 00:00:51

4 Simon Carr (EF Education-EasyPost) 00:00:53

5 Thomas De Gendt (Lotto Soudal) 00:01:01

Rohan Dennis

Rohan Dennis on stage 4 of Paris-Nice. (Image credit: Getty)

Brandon McNulty comes through the 7km mark with the third best time thus far, 11 seconds down on Dennis.

Time at finish

1 Rohan Dennis (Jumbo-Visma) 00:16:26

2 Ethan Hayter (Ineos) 00:00:08

3 Luke Durbridge (BikeExchange-Jayco) 00:00:36

4 Owain Doull (EF Education-EasyPost) 00:00:48

5 Stefan De Bod (Astana-Qazaqstan) 00:00:51

 

Unlike Hayter, Brandon McNulty faded over the latter part of the course. The American stops the clock in 17:06 at the finish, half a minute down on Dennis. It's the third-best time so far. 

Ethan Hayter

Ethan Hayter in the stage 4 time trial at Paris-Nice. (Image credit: Getty)

Time at finish

1 Rohan Dennis (Jumbo-Visma) 00:16:26

2 Ethan Hayter (Ineos) 00:00:08

3 Brandon McNulty (UAE Team Emirates) 00:00:30

4 Luke Durbridge (BikeExchange-Jayco) 00:00:36

5 Owain Doull (EF Education-EasyPost) 00:00:48

From the hotseat, Rohan Dennis assesses the time trial course: "I think it’s about being obviously fast on the fast parts and also not being silly and semi-using that as recovery. But I don’t want to give away too many secrets. It’s sort of relentless and that last 500m seems to go forever. Hopefully that’s the deal breaker for a lot of guys, that they hit that final climb and find they’ve overspent before that and they blow and they slow up and I can beat them."

Dennis' chief rivals ttoday should come from within, chiefly Primož Roglič and Wout van Aert. 

"Of course it is a target, every time trial is potentially a winning chance for me, but obviously, I’ve got some really good teammates with Primož and Wout who can do really well today," Dennis said. "But it’s no different to any other team. Last year I had Ganna, the years before I had Küng with BMC, so it’s not about worrying what they’re doing. It’s an individual time trial and the individual part is the key to it."

Gino Mäder (Bahrain Victorious) completes his effort, coming in 1:13 down on Dennis for the 18th best mark so far.

Wout Poels (Bahrain-Victorious) completes his time trial in 18:13, some 1:46 down on Dennis. One of the most likely challengers to Dennis' supremacy now rolls down the start ramp. European champion Stefan Küng (Groupama-FDJ) has started the season strongly and he will be eager to make up for losing the Volta ao Algarve time trial to a flying Remco Evenepoel. 

Time at finish

1 Rohan Dennis (Jumbo-Visma) 00:16:26

2 Ethan Hayter (Ineos) 00:00:08

3 Brandon McNulty (UAE Team Emirates) 00:00:30

4 Luke Durbridge (BikeExchange-Jayco) 00:00:36

5 Alex Kirsch (Trek-Segafredo) 00:00:40

João Almeida (UAE Team Emirates) is out on the course. The Portuguese rider lost ground in the crosswinds on Monday and those losses have effectively torpedoed his GC hopes, but he will still look to perform strongly across the final part of the race as he builds towards a leadership role at the Giro d'Italia.

Second best time for Küng at the 7km point, 0.8 seconds behind Dennis.

João Almeida crosses the finish line in 6th place, 40 seconds down on Dennis. Meanwhile, Guillaume Martin (Cofidis) hits the 7km mark, 36 seconds down on the Australian's intermediate mark. 

Stefan Küng falls short of Dennis' time at the finish, crossing the line 4 seconds down in second place.

Time at finish

1 Rohan Dennis (Jumbo-Visma) 00:16:26

2 Stefan Küng (Groupama-FDJ) 00:00:04

3 Ethan Hayter (Ineos) 00:00:08

4 Brandon McNulty (UAE Team Emirates) 00:00:30

5 Luke Durbridge (BikeExchange-Jayco) 00:00:36

Dylan van Baarle has the 7th best time at the 7km mark, 15 seconds down on Dennis.

Guillaume Martin concedes 2:36 to Dennis across the 13.4km. Stefan Bissegger (EF Education-EasyPost) has begun his effort and the Swiss rider might the only man who can challenge the expected Jumbo-Visma hegemony. We'll get an indication when he hits the 7km point.

Simon Yates and 2020 Paris-Nice time trial winner Soren Kragh Andersen have begun their efforts. We're into the final 20 starters, as the men with their GC ambitions still intact take to the road. The final starters set off as follows:

127      Simon Yates (GBr) BikeExchange-Jayco      15:11:00

128      Søren Kragh Andersen (Den) Team DSM     15:12:00

129      Daniel Martinez Poveda (Col) Ineos Grenadiers       15:13:00

130      Adam Yates (GBr) Ineos Grenadiers 15:14:00

131      Jack Haig (Aus) Bahrain Victorious  15:15:00

132      Clément Champoussin (Fra) AG2R Citroen Team    15:17:00

133      Stan Dewulf (Bel) AG2R Citroen Team        15:19:00

134      Luis Leon Sanchez (Spa) Bahrain Victorious 15:21:00

135      Nairo Quintana (Col) Arkea-Samsic  15:23:00

136      B̶e̶n̶ ̶O̶'̶C̶o̶n̶n̶o̶r̶ ̶(̶A̶u̶s̶)̶ ̶A̶G̶2̶R̶ ̶C̶i̶t̶r̶o̶e̶n̶ ̶T̶e̶a̶m̶    15:25:00

137      Florian Senechal (Fra) Quick-Step Alpha Vinyl Team          15:27:00

138      Aleksandr Vlasov (Rus) Bora-Hansgrohe      15:29:00

139      Jasper Stuyven (Bel) Trek-Segafredo 15:31:00

140      Zdenek Stybar (Cze) Quick-Step Alpha Vinyl Team 15:33:00

141      Pierre Latour (Fra) TotalEnergies      15:35:00

142      Bryan Coquard (Fra) Cofidis  15:37:00

143      Mads Pedersen (Den) Trek-Segafredo           15:39:00

144      Primoz Roglic (Slo) Jumbo-Visma    15:41:00

145      Wout Van Aert (Bel) Jumbo-Visma   15:43:00

146      Christophe Laporte (Fra) Jumbo-Visma        15:45:00

Dylan van Baarle battles against the gradient on the final haul to the line. He stops the clock 31 seconds down on Dennis, good enough for 6th best so far.

Stefan Bissegger does not look like troubling Dennis this afternoon, unless he has left a lot in reserve for the final climb. The Swiss rider comes through the 7km mark with the fourth best time, 9 seconds down on Dennis. 

Meanwhile, Stefan Küng smiles as he explains to reporters how the final kick to the line was the difference between himself and Dennis this afternoon. "I would have loved to have been 10kg lighter," he jokes. 

Time at finish

1 Rohan Dennis (Jumbo-Visma) 00:16:26

2 Stefan Küng (Groupama-FDJ) 00:00:04

3 Ethan Hayter (Ineos) 00:00:08

4 Fred Wright (Bahrain Victorious) 00:00:29

5 Brandon McNulty (UAE Team Emirates) 00:00:30

It's a very useful time from Simon Yates, who is some 3.7 seconds quicker than Dennis at the 7km mark. That's the quickest time so far. And, I should note, there are just two spare bikes aboard his following team car.

Dani Martinez has the 5th best time at the 7km mark, 13 seconds down on Simon Yates. Adam Yates was 9th at 18 seconds at the same point, with Soren Kragh Andersen 10th at 18 seconds.

Stefan Bissegger reaches the finish in 4th place, 15 seconds down on Dennis' best time. Simon Yates, meanwhile, is powering towards the base of that climb to the line, doubtless buoyed by having the best time at the midway point.

Into the final kilometre for Simon Yates, who breaks from his aero tuck as the gradient begins to bite...

Simon Yates dances up the climb, but he falls short... He crosses the line with the third best time to date, 5 seconds down on Dennis. 

Time at finish

1 Rohan Dennis (Jumbo-Visma) 00:16:26

2 Stefan Küng (Groupama-FDJ) 00:00:04

3 Simon Yates (BikeExchange-Jayco) 00:00:05

4 Ethan Hayter (Ineos) 00:00:08

5 Stefan Bissegger (EF Education-EasyJet) 00:00:15

Dani Martinez concedes a little over the second half of the course, but stays in the hunt for overall victory. He comes home 21 seconds down on Dennis, with the 6th best time so far.

Adam Yates reaches the finish with the 13th best time so far, 37 seconds down on Dennis. Nairo Quintana, meanwhile, has reached the intermediate checkpoint in 57th place, already some 42 seconds down on Dennis. His GC hopes are taking a major blow this afternoon.

Aleksandr Vlasov has started his time trial. As per the UCI's recent directive following Russia's invasion of Ukraine, he is competing in his Bora-Hansgrohe skinsuit rather than in the colours of Russian time trial champion. Last week, Vlasov took to social media to outline his opposition to the ongoing Russian invasion. "It has been a shock for everyone and I hope that it will stop as soon as possible," he wrote.

Jack Haig (Bahrain Victorious) finished 1:01 down on Dennis, with the 30th best time to date. Primož Roglič, meanwhile, makes his way towards the start ramp to begin his effort. 

Aleksandr Vlasov hits the 7km mark with the 7th best time, 13 seconds down on Simon Yates' time there. 

TotalEnergies have rather a lot of bikes stacked on the team car following Pierre Latour, who is looking to continue his fine start to Paris-Nice with another solid outting here. 

Nairo Quintana's ordeal is at an end. The Colombian remains a favourite for the Col de Turini stage, but road to overall victory is narrower as he concedes 1:10 for now.

Primoz Roglic begins his time trial. Only two Jumbo-Visma teammates follow him, Wout van Aert and yellow jersey Christophe Laporte. Roglič and Van Aert will be favourites to lead another Jumbo-Visma 1-2-3 here, but it's worth recalling that Laporte has produced decent displays in short time trials like this in his Cofidis days. He won time trials at Tour Poitou Charentes and Etoile de Bessèges in 2019 and at the Belgium Tour the previous year.

A very strong start from Pierre Latour. The Frenchman is fourth at 8 seconds after 7km.

Yellow jersey Christophe Laporte rolls down the start ramp to begin his effort. He leads his teammate Wout van Aert by one second overall, with Roglič third at 9 seconds.

At the finish, Vlasov stops the clock 24 seconds down on Dennis with the 7th best time thus far. 

Time at finish

1 Rohan Dennis (Jumbo-Visma) 00:16:26

2 Stefan Küng (Groupama-FDJ) 00:00:04

3 Simon Yates (BikeExchange-Jayco) 00:00:05

4 Ethan Hayter (Ineos) 00:00:08

5 Stefan Bissegger (EF Education-EasyJet) 00:00:15

6 Daniel Martinez (Ineos) 00:00:22

7 Aleksandr Vlasov (Bora-Hansgrohe) 00:00:25

8 Fred Wright (Bahrain Victorious) 00:00:29

9 Brandon McNulty (UAE Team Emirates) 00:00:30

10 Dylan van Baarle (Ineos) 00:00:31

Mads Pedersen won yesterday but he insisted today's time trial wouldn't constitutte a rest day with the Grand Depart of the Tour de France in Copenhagen in mind. He's been as good as his word, as he hits the 7km mark with the 4th best time, just 7 seconds off the pace.

Roglič looked very smootth through the opening half of the course, but he's a little off the pace so far. He is 4th best, 6 seconds down on Simon Yates after 7km, though it's worth noting that the Briton faded mildly in the latter section. And Roglič will surely enjoy the short kick to the line, assuming he has gauged his effort right here.

Wout van Aert falls just short of Yates' time at the 7km mark. The Belgian is only 1.4 seconds down, mind, and he is very much in the mix for both stage honours and the yellow jersey.

Christophe Laporte reaches the intermediate checkpoint with the 8th best time, 10 seconds down on Simon Yates. Wout van Aert looks set to take yellow and Jumbo-Visma - either through Van Aert, Dennis or Roglič, will take the stage honours.

Fifth best time at the finish for Pierre Latour, who produced a fine time trial. The Frenchman crosses the line 13 seconds down on Dennis.

Time at finish

1 Rohan Dennis (Jumbo-Visma) 00:16:26

2 Stefan Küng (Groupama-FDJ) 00:00:04

3 Simon Yates (BikeExchange-Jayco) 00:00:05

4 Ethan Hayter (Ineos) 00:00:08

5 Pierre Latour (TotalEnergies) 00:00:13

6 Stefan Bissegger (EF Education-EasyJet) 00:00:15

7 Mads Pedersen (Trek-Segafredo) 00:00:19

8 Daniel Martinez (Ineos) 00:00:22

9 Aleksandr Vlasov (Bora-Hansgrohe) 00:00:25

10 Fred Wright (Bahrain Victorious) 00:00:29

A fine display from Mads Pedersen, who takes 7th on the stage for the time being, though he will drop a place once Roglič crosses the line. The Slovenian climbs out of the saddle as he reaches the stiffest point of that interminable kick to the line.

Primož Roglič judged his effort perfectly and sets a new best time of 16:22, 4 seconds up on Dennis at an average speed of 49.1kph.

What can Wout van Aert do in response? The Belgian is sprinting from the saddle and he looks like he might even beat Roglič, but it will be tight....

Wout van Aert clocks 16:20, two seconds quicker than Roglič. The Belgian champion will take the stage win and the yellow jersey, as Jumbo-Visma complete another 1-2-3. His teammate Laporte is the only rider still to finish.

A creditable display from Laporte, but he falls short of his illustrious teammates. The Frenchman places 11th on the stage, 29 seconds down on Van Aert, to whom he cedes the yellow jersey.

Wout van Aert (Jumbo-Visma) wins stage 4 of Paris-Nice and takes the yellow jersey as Jumbo-Visma sweep the first three places. 

Resultt
Pos.Rider Name (Country) TeamResult
1Wout Van Aert (Bel) Jumbo-Visma 0:16:20
2Primoz Roglic (Slo) Jumbo-Visma 0:00:02
3Rohan Dennis (Aus) Jumbo-Visma 0:00:06
4Stefan K�ng (Swi) Groupama-FDJ 0:00:10
5Simon Yates (GBr) BikeExchange-Jayco 0:00:11
6Ethan Hayter (GBr) Ineos Grenadiers 0:00:14
7Pierre Latour (Fra) TotalEnergies 0:00:19
8Stefan Bissegger (Swi) EF Education-EasyPost 0:00:21
9Mads Pedersen (Den) Trek-Segafredo 0:00:25
10Daniel Martinez Poveda (Col) Ineos Grenadiers 0:00:28

General classification after stage 4
Pos.Rider Name (Country) TeamResult
1Wout Van Aert (Bel) Jumbo-Visma 11:51:05
2Primoz Roglic (Slo) Jumbo-Visma 0:00:10
3Christophe Laporte (Fra) Jumbo-Visma 0:00:28
4Simon Yates (GBr) BikeExchange-Jayco 0:00:49
5Pierre Latour (Fra) TotalEnergies 0:00:51
6Mads Pedersen (Den) Trek-Segafredo 0:00:53
7Daniel Martinez Poveda (Col) Ineos Grenadiers 0:01:06
8Aleksandr Vlasov (Rus) Bora-Hansgrohe 0:01:09
9Stefan Bissegger (Swi) EF Education-EasyPost 0:01:13
10S�ren Kragh Andersen (Den) Team DSM 0:01:19

MONTLUCON FRANCE MARCH 09 Wout Van Aert of Belgium and Team Jumbo Visma green points jersey sprints during 80th Paris Nice 2022 Stage 4 a 134km individual time trial from Domrat to Montluon ParisNice WorldTour on March 09 2022 in Montlucon France Photo by Bas CzerwinskiGetty Images

(Image credit: Getty Images)

Wout van Aert on his victory: "Until now it was a perfect week, especially with the team we have here. I think we really attacked this race and showed what we’re here for. Also today everyone was motivating each other and it results again in a nice podium.

"Before, our trainer planned the winning time to be around 17 minutes and then Rohan did like 16:25 or something, so the last two hours before the start I think everyone was worried to see if they still could beat him. It was a hard effort to manage because it was always up and down, you couldn’t find one steady rhythm. Especially for the last steep part, you really needed something left and I think I managed to save a little bit in the downhills. I managed to make myself as aero as possible and then go full gas on the climbs.

"I hope to wear [yellow] until Primoz takes it over from me. That’s my only goal. The hardest stages are coming now and for me a lot of nice things are coming afterwards. We’ll start tomorrow and enjoy this yellow jersey, and I will see day by day."

If Paris-Nice existed in a vacuum, then Wout van Aert would certainly be a prime contender to carry the yellow jersey to the Promenade des Anglais, but he has long insisted that his focus is on the Tour of Flanders and Paris-Roubaix, and he is eager to avoid going too deep here as he felt he did en route to a podium finish at Tirreno-Adriatico last year.

Primož Roglič, now second overall at 10 seconds, thus remains the favourite for overall victory. The Slovenian has 39 seconds in hand on Simon Yates, who has postioned himself as the chief challenger after his strong showing this afternoon.

MONTLUCON FRANCE MARCH 09 Christophe Laporte of France and Team Jumbo Visma yellow leader jersey sprints during 80th Paris Nice 2022 Stage 4 a 134km individual time trial from Domrat to Montluon ParisNice WorldTour on March 09 2022 in Montlucon France Photo by Bas CzerwinskiGetty Images

Christophe Laporte lost yellow but remains third overall (Image credit: Getty Images)

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