Rasteau, France, March 13, 2015 (AFP) – Davide Cimolai of Italy won the
fifth stage of the Paris-Nice, the so-called “Race to the Sun”, on Friday,
leaving Frenchman Bryan Coquard in his wake in a sprint finish.
World champion Michal Kwiatkowski of Poland retained the leader’s yellow
jersey, two days from the finish on the French Riviera.
Belgium’s Thomas De Gendt led a heroic breakaway a long way from home on
the 192.5km ride from Saint-Etienne to Rasteau, but was visibly flagging as he
was hauled in and left behind 300 metres from the line.
Cimolai hit the front on the gentle climb to the finish and crossed the
line a wheel’s length ahead of Coquard in the dash for victory.
Australia’s Michael Matthews grabbed third place from French rider Nacer
Cimolai, 25, who turned professional five years ago, has made an impressive
start to the year, having already won the Trofeo Laigueglia, a traditional
early season race in Liguria.
“The favourite today was (John) Degenkolb. I tried to position myself not
far from him but when I saw Coquard pulling ahead, I made the effort,” the
Lampre-Merida rider explained.
“I haven’t changed anything this season. I’ve improved year after year by
working for others. I arrived in form and worked for (Niccolo) Bonifacio and
the flat sprints in the first few days.
“I am fast but I am not as fast as (Andre) Greipel, (Mark) Cavendish or
Saturday’s sixth and penultimate stage is a gruelling 180.5km ride from
Vence to Nice, with a finish on the celebrated Promenade des Anglais after a
series of six hill climbs.
Results on Friday
in the fifth stage of the Paris-Nice cycle race, the 192.5km from
Saint-Etienne to Rasteau:
1. Davide Cimolai (ITA/LAM) 4hr 12min 09sec, 2. Bryan Coquard (FRA/EUC)
same time, 3. Michael Matthews (AUS/ORI) s.t., 4. Nacer Bouhanni (FRA/COF), 5.
Jose Joaquin Rojas (ESP/MOV), 6. Alexander Kristoff (NOR/KAT), 7. Matti
Breschel (DEN/TIN), 8. Daniel McLay (GBR/BSE), 9. Samuel Dumoulin (FRA/ALM),
10. Sylvain Chavanel (FRA/IAM) all same time
1. Michal Kwiatkowski (POL/ETI) 23hr 56min 20sec, 2. Richie Porte (AUS/SKY)
at 01sec, 3. Geraint Thomas (GBR/SKY) 03, 4. Tejay Van Garderen (USA/BMC) 27,
5. Jakob Fuglsang (DEN/AST) 32, 6. Tony Gallopin (FRA/LOT) 38, 7. Rui Costa
(POR/LAM) 41, 8. Gorka Izagirre (ESP/MOV) 44, 9. Tiago Machado (POR/KAT) 50,
10. Rafael Valls (ESP/LAM) 51
Photo by: Cor Vos