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As it happened: Grand finale at Paris-Nice


Good morning and welcome along to our live coverage of stage 8 of Paris-Nice. It's the grand finale, and it often is grand, with the medium mountains behind Nice producing some thrilling last-gasp racing in recent editions. Let's hope for more of the same today.

The GC standings currently see Tadej Pogačar of UAE Team Emirates holding a 12 second gap over David Gaudu (Groupama-FDJ), with Jumbo-Visma's Jonas Vingegaard 58 seconds in deficit, back in third.

The jersey wearers head the peloton as the 8th and final stage of Paris-Nice gets underway.

The race is underway and polka dot jersey leader Jonas Gregaard attacks immediately, along with his Uno-X teammate Alexander Kristoff. He is understandably keen to seal victory in the King of the Mountains competition as the riders head for a day that features 5 categorised climbs along its 117.5kms.

The bunch have flown out of the gates with an early average speed of 55km/h. Gregaard and Kristoff have already amassed a lead of over 1.00.

With a relatively short, rolling route and very little flat, today's race should see aggressive riding from teams who are seeking a stage win, along with riders who hope to improve their GC positions. Following the final climb of the day, the Col d'Eze, there is around 15km of descent before 3km or so of flat roads as the race arrives in Nice.

It's immediately into the climbing action as the first categorised climb of the day beckons, the cat 2 Côte de Levens.

At the 100km to go mark, Gregaard approaches the Côte de Levens with a slender 1.10 lead. Kristoff has dropped back to the peloton and the pace is already starting to take its toll, with sprinters being shelled out the back of the bunch.

There's no let-up in the Alpes-Maritimes and once the Côte de Levens has been dispatched, there's another short, uncategorised ascent before a brief descent kicks the riders onto the second category 2 climb of the day, the Côte de Châteauneuf.

Jonas Gregaard's gap has dropped to 50 seconds and behind him, Wout Poels (Bahrain-Victorious) fights to bridge the gap, and he is followed by a chasing pack of around 15 riders who have broken free of the peloton.

The race is passing through the area which saw Primož Roglič snatch defeat from the jaws of victory in 2021, crashing three times as Bora-Hansgrohe's Max Schachmann clinched GC victory.

With the Côte de Levens done and dusted, Gregaard tops out first and adds 5 points to add to his lead in the KOM competition.

With that, Gregaard increases his lead over Pogačar in the KOM standings to 13 points, but his chances to secure more points are diminishing as the pack nip at his heels, just 12 seconds behind.

As Gregaard crests the uncategorised part of the climb and begins a short section of descent, another ten riders have pulled clear of the bunch and are in pursuit.

The group of ten chasers make contact with Gregaard. This leading group of 11 now has just 20 seconds over the rest of the bunch as they near the bottom of the descent.

The riders in the break are Hamilton, Narvaez, Politt, Kung, Wright, Izagirre, Naesen, Champoussin, Goosens, De la Cruz and Gregaard. They open out their lead to 30 seconds.

Another 4 riders have bridged the gap - Tratnik, Eenkhorn, Calmejane and Houle. It's a stacked breakaway group containing a range of strong riders - they quickly pull out their lead to a minute over the peloton. 

The lead group tops the category 2 Côte de Châteauneuf and the bunch has split into a number of groups - it's already all over the road in the Alps.

A full run-down of who is where, as the second cat 2 climb is completed and the riders begin a long descent.

Ineos-Grenadiers fight to make the break of the day.

The descent the riders are currently tackling is just 7km in length but it's pretty steep. They will then begin climbing again immediately on a day with no respite - the third challenge of the day is the category 2 Côte de Berre les Alpes.

Gregaard adds another 5 points to his total in the King of the Mountains standings by being the first to crest the second category Côte de Châteauneuf - his lead extends to 18 points and will be unassailable if he can be first over the next climb.

Kevin Vauquelin (Arkea-Samsic) has left the second group of chasers and is heading across to the first group - he is currently just 10 seconds behind them, with the second group 35 seconds back and the peloton at 45 seconds.

With the descent safely navigated for the breakaway, it's back to the climbing, with the Côte de Berre les Alpes posing the toughest challenge yet - 6.5km at an average gradient of 5.8%.

Onto the climb, and Vauquelin bridges to the lead group, but the peloton have them in their sights, just 15 seconds back. Can Jonas Gregaard dig in and win the polka dot jersey?

16 riders remaining clear at the front and there's now a group of GC riders who have split away from the rest of the bunch. They hang 25 seconds behind the leaders heading up the climb.

Heading for the summit of the Côte de Berre les Alpes, Tadej Pogačar looks unlikely to trouble Gregaard's lead in the KOM contest - the yellow jersey group are now 30 seconds behind the lead group.

With 2km remaining to the summit, the timing has been updated - the yellow jersey group are now just 8 seconds behind the break, and they are about to make the catch.

With 1km to the summit, Gregaard is giving everything at the front of the breakaway to seal the polka dot jersey.

David de la Cruz (Astana-Qazaqstan) paces at the front of the breakaway. He has won the final stage of Paris-Nice twice in the past. Gregaard takes over with 400m remaining to the summit. He is giving it his all and should secure the 5 points.

Gregaard has done it. He is the first to cross the summit and in doing so, he scores the 5 points that see him wrap up the win in the King of the Mountains competition. He poured everything into that and as he tops the ascent he radios back to his team, before dropping out of contention. Job done.

Crash for Dorian Godon (AG2R-Citroen).

Pushing on into the descent, and 5 riders from the breakaway have opened up a gap to the rest, with Stefan Küng (Groupama-FDJ) leading the charge.

There's around 12km of descent ahead of the riders before the first of the day's two category 1 climbs, the Côte de Peille. It's a 6.6km challenge with an average gradient of 6.9%, and is likely to see the race explode.

The five riders currently leading the race are Champoussin, Naesen, Hamilton, Tratnik and Küng. They nurse a narrow 15 second gap to the yellow jersey group who have subsumed the remainder of the day's break.

Groupama-FDJ hope to play a major role in the day's action - Stefan Küng currently rides in the lead group and David Gaudu is second on GC and will hope to challenge Pogačar.

Hostilities calm as the bunch head into the first category 1 climb of the day, and the bunch partially reforms, while the lead group of 5 are able to add to their cushion of time, 47 seconds up the road.

Wout Poels of Bahrain-Victorious is obviously on a good day - he attacked earlier on and now he launches another attack, pulling clear of the bunch in pursuit of the break.

Kevin Vauquelin of Arkea-Samsic decides he's done for the day despite a strong opening gambit. He drops to the back of the pack.

UAE Team Emirates increase the pace on the front of the yellow jersey group as they head up the Côte de Peille. Consequently, the gap drops back down to 35 seconds, and Wout Poels looks to be about to bridge the gap to the break.

Felix Großschartner takes up the pace at the front of the yellow jersey group on behalf of Tadej Pogačar.

3.5km remain on the climb and the gap hovers around 25 seconds. Wout Poels makes the catch and the lead group swells to 6.

Riders continue to be shelled out the back of the bunch as the pace intensifies. 3km remain on the climb and the gap has stabilised and hovers between 25 and 30 seconds.

Wout Poels has ridden right past the breakaway and now leads solo, with Oliver Naesen in second place on the road. 

It's a stunning day in Nice and the riders are already unzipping jerseys as the heat begins to affect them. UAE still drive the pace in the yellow jersey group, with Groupama-FDJ sitting just behind, protecting David Gaudu.

Jonas Vingegaard looks somewhat isolated in the middle of the bunch, although he does have Jan Tratnik up the road for later. Likewise, David Gaudu has a teammate in the breakaway, in the shape of Stefan Küng, but he also has two teammates with him. 

The climb is complete - just one ascent remains, and it's the iconic Col d'Eze. First there's a significant amount of descending to get through, along with a short uncategorised climb toward the bonus sprint in Eze.

The Paris-Nice peloton tackles one of the day's many descents.

Tadej Pogačar and David de la Cruz have a frank exchange of views as they descend.

With 40km remaining the gap to the break holds at 30 seconds. The intermediate sprint in Eze beckons and as lone leader, Wout Poels will take the points.

Wout Poels has just 23 seconds advantage over the peloton now as the pace increases heading towards the intermediate sprint. Groupama-FDJ push on at the front of the bunch - David Gaudu is being led out for the bonus seconds. But Pogačar launches and snatches the additional seconds, adding 2 more seconds to his lead.

With the action surrounding the intermediate sprint Poels' gap has diminished to 11 seconds, and the bunch have him in their sights. A long descent begins towards the final climb of the race - the Col d'Eze.

There will be around 12km of descending before the climbing begins again in earnest. Pogačar is in pole position to win Paris-Nice at the first time of asking. He has 14 seconds over David Gaudu, who would have to find something extremely special to overcome the imperious Slovenian on the final climb of the day.

The catch is made and Wout Poels is back in the fold as the pace increases heading down through Nice towards the final climb.

The peloton flies through the streets of Nice ahead of the Col d'Eze climb which will decide the final outcome of the general classification of the 2023 edition of Paris-Nice.

The tension mounts as the lead group edges ever closer to the final climb. Who will strike first on the Col d'Eze?

The riders hit the climb and gaps already start to appear as domestiques drop out of the picture. Felix Großschartner leads the way for Tadej Pogačar, with Gaudu and Vingegaard also safely in the front group.

Around 16 riders remain in the leading group. 4.8km remain of the climb.

Alongside Pogačar, Gaudu and Vingegaard, other riders to still be in the mix are Neilson Powless (EF Education-EasyPost), Simon Yates (Jayco-Alula), and Matteo Jorgenson (Movistar).

Simon Yates is the first to launch an attack. Pogačar is without teammates now. Vingegaard and Gaudu stick with him but the likes of Sivakov, Bardet and the rest cannot stick with them.

Tadej Pogačar takes over the race lead and immediately puts a gap between himself and the rest. He will attempt to solo away in search of victory.

Gaudu leads the next group, which still contains Yates, Vingegaard and now Jorgenson too.

Gaudu sets off in pursuit of Pogačar - he is able to gap the other three chasing riders. 

With 3.4km of climbing remaining, Pogačar has 17 seconds over Gaudu, who in turn has around 8 seconds on the next group.

Gaudu gives up the solo chase, and the chasing group becomes a quartet once again. There are 22 seconds between Tadej Pogačar at the front of the race and the next group on the road.

This is a procession to the finish - Pogačar's gap opens out to 32 seconds and the four chasers seem resigned to their fate - they will fill out the next four spots on the general classification - assuming Jorgenson can make up enough time over Gino Mader (Bahrain-Victorious).

Tadej Pogačar continues to extend his lead and put on a show of complete dominance. 43 seconds ahead of the rest. Behind them, the rest are strung out down the slopes of the climb.

Tadej Pogačar pulls clear of the rest to ride for victory in the final stage of Paris-Nice.

The gap is surely unassailable now - at 52 seconds, plus his 14 second lead, bar incident or accident Tadej Pogačar is 11.5km away from becoming champion of Paris-Nice 2023.

The final descent into Nice is all that stands between Pogačar and victory.

The gap holds steady at around 48 seconds as Pogačar rides for the finish line.

5km to go - Tadej Pogačar rides alone at the head of the race. He will shortly convert the yellow leader's jersey into the winner's trophy as winner of Paris-Nice 2023. The podium will be completed by Gaudu and Vingegaard, who are locked together in the second group.

2km to the line and Tadej Pogačar prepares to seal the deal. 

The coastline of Nice is resplendent as an unstoppable Tadej Pogačar passes the Flamme Rouge.

Tadej Pogačar wins Paris-Nice 2023 on the Promenade des Anglais. Three stage wins, three jerseys, on his first appearance at the race. Dominant.

The chasing group arrive and Vingegaard sprints for second place ahead of David Gaudu. Yates and Jorgenson cross the line in 4th and 5th, with Gino Mader able to get back and defend his 5th position on GC.

Pogačar's final result is a 53 second lead over David Gaudu in second place. He takes 1.39 over Jonas Vinegaard in third.

Tadej Pogačar crosses the line to win Paris-Nice 2023.

Pogačar takes a bow as he seals the deal.

Tadej Pogačar:

David Gaudu:

David Gaudu and Jonas Vingegaard sprint it out for second place.

Jonas Gregaard wins the King of the Mountains classification.

The GC podium of Paris-Nice 2023:

The final results of Paris-Nice 2023, courtesy of FirstCycling.

Race report: Tadej Pogačar solos to victory at Paris-Nice

Thank you so much for joining us this week for Paris-Nice, we hope you've enjoyed the racing. See you again soon for more live updates.

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