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Paris-Nice. Hard final of Stage 7 ends GC ambitions of Luis Leon Sanchez

The final climb of today’s Queen Stage at Paris-Nice was one too many for Luis Leon Sanchez, being dropped out of the group with favorites going into the final 6 kilometers, losing his yellow leading jersey after being in the lead for 4 days. The team had another strong performance today, protecting and supporting Sanchez into the final and with Jakob Fuglsang finishing 9th after he tried to bring Sanchez back to the leading group. Simon Yates was the strongest of the select leading group, he got the stage win and he's the new leader in the General Classification.

We expected this stage would be super hard and it was exactly like that. Also, the weather was really bad and in these conditions, I can't say I felt great. Anyway, we fought until the end, the team did everything that was possible and I gave maximum on the climb. But, it was too much for me. However, I’m happy with this week, which we spent on a high level and once again I want to thank my team for their huge support. Tomorrow will be another day and another race. We will try our best to fight for a good result in the last stage, - told Luis Leon Sanchez.

A rainy start in Nice, but the weather conditions wouldn’t get any better going into the mountains and finishing uphill in the snow. This year’s Queen Stage at Paris-Nice was a mountain stage of 175 kilometers. Starting in Nice and finishing in Valdeblore La Colmiane, in total 4 climbs with a 1st category climb as a final leading to the finish. In the beginning of the stage the day’s breakaway got clear from the peloton, a group of 8 riders tried to go for day success.

The breakaway was working hard, but it would all come down to the final 1st cat. climb to Valdeblore La Colmiane, as Astana Pro Team was controlling the race. One by one, the teammates of Luis Leon Sanchez did their job in the front of the peloton. The remaining escapees were caught 14 kilometers before the finish, as Omar Fraile was leading the pack towards today’s final. With only 6 km left to the finish, Luis Leon Sanchez dropped and Omar Fraile and Jakob Fuglsang tried to get him back to the leading group, which didn’t succeed. Then Jakob Fuglsang tried to get back to fight for day success, but he was too late finishing 9th. Simon Yates was the strongest of the select leading group, he got the stage win and he's the new leader in the General Classification.

- It was a really hard stage, but we tried everything to keep Luis Leon Sanchez on the podium of the General Classification. When we didn’t succeed, I tried to go on my own, but it was too late. Too bad it didn’t worked out the way we hoped and worked for so hard. Now tomorrow we will try to end this Paris-Nice with our heads up high, - said Jakob Fuglsang at the finish.

Tomorrow’s final day of Paris-Nice will bring the peloton from Nice to Nice, through a 110km-long stage with 6 climbs (of which 2 are 1st cat.).  


Photo credit: Bettiniphoto

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