- Right at the bottom of the first climb I pulled at the front, and all of a sudden, I was in a breakaway together with Jakob Fuglsang and some other riders. I felt really good today, although it was a hard stage. The plan was to ride to the finish together with Jakob, but because of his crash I had to try it myself. At the end, I started my sprint too early as I was in a perfect position. It would have been the perfect finish of this Paris-Nice, a stage win, but I think we can still be very satisfied about this week of racing with the team, - told Omar Fraile.
An explosive start at the final stage of Paris-Nice, with Jakob Fuglsang and Omar Fraile in the attack. During this final day the start and finish were in Nice, with some hard climbs during the 110 kilometers to guarantee a spectacular end of this year’s edition. Fuglsang and Fraile took off with Julian Alaphillipe, but with 70 km to go Fuglsang crashed on the descent of the first climb, being picked up by the Yellow Jersey group of 20 riders. Omar Fraile then dropped Julian Alaphillipe on the next climb, where David de la Cruz and Marc Soler joined him on the summit of the climb, going into the final 50 kilometers.
What followed was an exciting final in the streets of Nice, as Omar Fraille was dropped by Soler (going for a GC win) and De la Cruz on the final descent, but after Fraile returned he went immediately for the attack. De la Cruz was able to follow him, and in the final sprint he was the fastest rider, finishing just in front of Omar Fraile. Marc Soler won the General Classification, as he finished far enough in front of Simon Yates to take over the lead.
- We’ve seen a very strong Astana Pro Team this Paris-Nice, with two second places at stages and of course 4 days of leading the race with Luis Leon Sanchez. But next to this result, we’ve seen a really strong team that worked for each other. Of course, we focussed on defending the Yellow Jersey of Luis Leon every day, so a lot of respect to the team as they gave everything to help.
At the end, we saw too late that Luis Leon didn’t had the legs yesterday at the climb, so Jakob Fuglsang could have won the stage. But that’s how the team worked during the whole week, always doing everything possible to help each other. Also today, as Omar Fraile helped Jakob into the breakaway but then he was unlucky in the descent. Overall we’re really happy with the team performance, I think there’s still much more to come this season, - said sports director Dmitriy Fofonov at the finish in Nice.
Photo credit: Bettiniphoto