FAYENCE, France, March 14, 2014 (AFP) – Colombian rider Carlos Betancur of
the AG2R La Mondiale team won the sixth stage of the Paris-Nice on Friday to
take the leader’s jersey two days before the race finish.
It was the second straight stage win for Betancur who overtook Portuguese
world champion Rui Costa in the last 100 metres on a steep summit finish.
Czech rider Zdenek Stybar crossed in third three seconds behind the leader
and ahead of Britain’s Geraint Thomas, who had been wearing the leader’s
With a 10sec time bonus for winning the stage, Betancur thus wiped out the
5sec deficit to Thomas that he began the day with and turned it into an 8sec
The final climb was a grueling 1,200 metres with a 10 percent gradient
after the 221.5km stage.
French rider Alexis Vuillermoz attacked on the final ramp with Dutchman
Tom-Jelte Slagter and Costa setting off in hot pursuit, while Betancur slipped
in behind the world champion.
Vuillermoz, Betancur’s AG2R teammate, saw his victory hopes dashed as he
fell on the final bend while Slagter suffered a mechanical problem as he tried
to avoid the fallen Frenchman, ruining his chances both of the stage win and
an overall success.
Slagter had begun the day in third overall at just 4sec but his bad luck
cost him 1min 34sec and all chance of victory in Nice as he trailed in 39th on
Costa seemed set to benefit as he showed his hand for the first time in
this race, only for Betancur to pass him in the finale.
Betancur had said following his victory on the fifth stage on Thursday that
he felt this one would be the decisive stage and so it proved for many riders.
One such was Giro d’Italia champion Vincenzo Nibali who had attacked on the
descent of the Col de Bourigaille in the final 20km but then lacked the legs
on the final climb and lost 41sec as he came in 35th.
One surprise was that of Spaniard Jose Joaquin Rojas who kept in touch with
the leaders and finished the stage in 14th, just 11sec back, to maintain fifth
Costa moved up to third at 18sec with Stybar fourth at 22sec.
Saturday’s seventh stage covers 195.5km between Mougins and Biot Sophia
Antipolis, and includes five climbs.
Results and standings from Friday’s
221.5km sixth stage of the Paris-Nice race from Saint-Saturnin-les-Avignon to
1. Carlos Betancur (COL/AG2R La Mondiale) 5hr 12min 11sec (average: 42.6
km/h), 2. Rui Costa (POR/LAM) s.t., 3. Zdenek Stybar (CZE/OPQ) at 03sec, 4.
Geraint Thomas (GBR/SKY) s.t., 5. Arthur Vichot (FRA/FDJ) s.t., 6. Cyril
Gautier (FRA/EUC) 7, 7. Jakob Fuglsang (DEN/AST) s.t., 8. Tony Gallopin
(FRA/LTB) s.t., 9. Stefan Denifl (AUT/IAM) s.t., 10. Gorka Izaguirre (ESP/MOV)
14. Jose Joaquin Rojas (ESP/MOV) 11, 35. Vincenzo Nibali (ITA/AST) 41, 57.
Andy Schleck (LUX/TRE) 5:12, 96. Tom Boonen (BEL/OPQ) 16:58
1. Carlos Betancur (COL/AG2R) La Mondiale 27hr 04min 48sec, 2. Geraint
Thomas (GBR/SKY) at 8sec, 3. Rui Costa (POR/LAM) 18, 4. Zdenek Stybar
(CZE/OPQ) 22, 5. Jose Joaquin Rojas (ESP/MOV) 24, 6. Jakob Fuglsang (DEN/AST)
25, 7. Arthur Vichot (FRA/FDJ) 27, 8. Jan Bakelants (BEL/OPQ) 29, 9. Cyril
Gautier (FRA/EUC) 31, 10. Stefan Denifl (AUT/IAM) s.t.
23. Vincenzo Nibali (ITA/AST) 1:05, 77. Tom Boonen (BEL/OPQ) 21:32, 101.
Andy Schleck (LUX/TRE) 28:34