Romans-sur-Isère, France, March 10, 2016 (AFP) – France’s Nacer Bouhanni sprinted to victory in the fourth stage of the Paris-Nice on Thursday, as Australia’s Michael Matthews held the overall race lead.
Bouhanni, who was demoted from first to third on Tuesday, made no mistake to cross ahead of Belgian Edward Theuns, Germany’s Andre Greipel and Alexander Kristoff of Norway.
It was the 25-year-old Cofidis rider’s third success on the Paris-Nice, and second stage win this season after the Tour of Andalusia in February.
Orica-GreenEdge rider Matthews remains in the leader’s yellow jersey after finishing in fifth place.
“The objective today was to preserve as much energy as possible in view of the days ahead,” said Matthews who said he had backed the decision taken on Wednesday to cancel the third stage due to snow.
“It was a good decision, it was too dangerous because of the conditions.
The next stage on Friday? I expect a tough day but I think I can take on the Ventoux without too much problem and have a good sprint at the end.
“All the sprinters won’t be there after the Ventoux. I will have to become a climber now.”
“Tomorrow is another hard day but I think I can get over Mont Ventoux. If that’s the case and there’s a few sprinters left, I’ll be among those who stand a good chance. I’m really going to take it day by day”.
Friday’s stage will see the riders cross Mont Ventoux in the southern Provence region, covering 195km between Saint-Paul-Trois-Châteaux and Salon-de-Provence, with two short climbs in the final 40km.
Fourth stage results in the Paris-Nice race on Thursday, 195.5km from Julienas to Romans-sur-Isère:
1. Nacer Bouhanni (FRA/COF) 4h42:29, 2. Edward Theuns (BEL/TRE) at 0:00.
3. André Greipel (GER/LOT), 4. Alexander Kristoff (NOR/KAT), 5. Michael Matthews (AUS/ORI), 6. Ben Swift (GBR/SKY), 7. Nikolas Maes (BEL/ETI), 8. Tony Gallopin (FRA/LOT), 9. Youcef Reguigui (ALG/DDT), 10. Roy Curvers (NED/GIA) all same time
29. Alberto Contador (ESP/TIN) 0:00, 38. Richie Porte (AUS/BMC) 0:00
1. Michael Matthews (AUS/ORI) 14h24:15, 2. Tom Dumoulin (NED/GIA) at 0:14, 3. Patrick Bevin (NZL/CAN) 0:19, 4. Ion Izagirre (ESP/MOV) 0:19, 5. Geraint Thomas (GBR/SKY) 0:19, 6. Lieuwe Westra (NED/AST) 0:24, 7. Dries Devenyns
(BEL/IAM) 0:25, 8. Rafal Majka (POL/TIN) 0:27, 9. Richie Porte (AUS/BMC) 0:27, 10. Tim Wellens (BEL/LOT) 0:28.
17. Alberto Contador (ESP/TIN) 0:33.