Vacansoleil-DCM rider takes stage by six seconds from Valverde and Wiggins

Fireworks had been predicted on today's Stage 5 of Paris-Nice which fiished with the three-kilometre climb of the short but brutal Montée Laurent Jalabert above Mende this afternoon, but it wasn't Alejandro Valverde, the man most had predicted would prevail here, who provided them. Instead, it was Vacansoleil-DCM's Lieuwe Westra, sixth overall this morning, who attacked inside the closing kilometre, Valverde of Movistar finishing second and overall leader Bradley Wiggins of Team Sky third, both finishing six  seconds behind the Dutchman.

The ten bonus seconds that Westra gained are enough to lift him to second overall, while those that Wiggins got for his third place help keep him six seconds ahead.

However, when he reflects on today's stage, the Vacansoleil-DCM rider will rue a spot of showboating as he neared the line which cost him the opportunity to reduce that gap further still.

It was one of Westra's team mates, Frederik Veuchelen, the last survivor of a four man breakaway, who had hit the climb first but he was quickly passed by the peloton led by Team Sky's Richie Porte, setting a steady tempo up the front.

Behind, the climb was taking its toll, with riders shelled out the back including defending champion Tony Martin of Omega Pharma-Quick Step, well out of contention this year, his team mate Sylvain Chavanel, who started the day fourth overall, and the Cofidis rider Reim Taaramae.

As the front of the race headed under the flamme rouge to enter the closing kilometre, race leader  Wiggins was tucked in right behind Porte and immediately the first attack came, from FDJ-BigMat's Arnold Jeannesson, 12th overall.

He was quickly brought back, however but the next attack, from Westra, proved decisive, with neither Wiggins nor Valverde responding immediately as the Vacansoliel-DCM rider took the stage.

Tomorrow and Saturday are likely to see little oportunity for anyone near the top of the GC to make a move, meaning the race is likely to come down to Sunday's closing time trial on the Col d'Eze above Nice. The steady climb should suit Wiggins, but Valverde and Westra will both be looking to take advantage of any mistakes.

Paris-Nice Stage 5 result  

1  WESTRA Lieuwe           VACANSOLEIL-DCM         4h 52' 46"
2  VALVERDE Alejandro      MOVISTAR TEAM            + 00' 06"
3  WIGGINS Bradley         SKY PROCYCLING           + 00' 06"
5  SPILAK Simon            KATUSHA TEAM             + 00' 06"
6  CUNEGO Damiano          LAMPRE - ISD             + 00' 16"
7  JEANNESSON Arnold       FDJ-BIGMAT               + 00' 16"
8  SZMYD Sylvester         LIQUIGAS-CANNONDALE      + 00' 24"
9  URAN Rigoberto          SKY PROCYCLING           + 00' 24"
10 VOECKLER Thomas         TEAM EUROPCAR            + 00' 30"
11 MONFORT Maxime          RADIOSHACK-NISSAN        + 00' 30"
12 VAN GARDEREN Tejay      BMC RACING TEAM          + 00' 30"
13 PORTE Richie            SKY PROCYCLING           + 00' 42"
14 GENIEZ Alexandre        PROJECT 1T4I             + 00' 42"
15 LAGUTIN Sergey          VACANSOLEIL-DCM          + 00' 42"
16 BOUET Maxime            AG2R LA MONDIALE         + 00' 42"
17 MORENO Javier           MOVISTAR TEAM            + 00' 48"
18 KISERLOVSKI Robert      ASTANA PRO TEAM          + 00' 48"
19 SCHLECK Frank           RADIOSHACK-NISSAN        + 00' 48"
20 PERAUD Jean-Christophe  AG2R LA MONDIALE         + 00' 48"

Paris-Nice overall standings after Stage 5  

1  WIGGINS Bradley         SKY PROCYCLING         18h 23' 40"
2  WESTRA Lieuwe           VACANSOLEIL-DCM          + 00' 06"
4  VALVERDE Alejandro      MOVISTAR TEAM            + 00' 18"
5  SPILAK Simon            KATUSHA TEAM             + 00' 37"
6  VAN GARDEREN Tejay      BMC RACING TEAM          + 00' 39"
7  MONFORT Maxime          RADIOSHACK-NISSAN        + 00' 46"
8  JEANNESSON Arnold       FDJ-BIGMAT               + 01' 06"
9  CHAVANEL Sylvain        OMEGA PHARMA-QUICK STEP  + 01' 16"
10 KISERLOVSKI Robert      ASTANA PRO TEAM          + 01' 21"



Born in Scotland, Simon moved to London aged seven and now lives in the Oxfordshire Cotswolds with his miniature schnauzer, Elodie. He fell in love with cycling one Saturday morning in 1994 while living in Italy when Milan-San Remo went past his front door. A daily cycle commuter in London back before riding to work started to boom, he's been news editor at road.cc since 2009. Handily for work, he speaks French and Italian. He doesn't get to ride his Colnago as often as he'd like, and freely admits he's much more adept at cooking than fettling with bikes.


arrieredupeleton [585 posts] 6 years ago

I'm not sure it was a case of Wiggins not being able to respond. I think he was assessing the time gaps and perhaps doesn't see Westra as a threat in the ITT, which will ultimately decide the race.

Porte and Uran look like shoe-ins as Tour domestiques - rode a very measured race and kept the tempo just high enough to prevent Piti (Valverde) and others from attacking Wiggins. Chapeau

Simon_MacMichael [2507 posts] 6 years ago

Yeah, "not able to" wasn't what I was trying to convey so I've tweaked that. Wiggins & co didn't respond immediately as you say, though I think once it dawned that he'd also get bonus seconds and wasn't that far off the top of GC they realised they needed to limit time lost.

Thought Porte was great on that final climb, TDF squad could be very interesting. Watching him lead Cav through the traffic at Tirreno, I wonder if Eddy BH could potentially have a role to do on both the sprint and the GC side? Could be a crucial role.

rbx [226 posts] 6 years ago

Any chance you good folk can also put the top-5 of other jerseys also in the results summary below daily stage post?

Helps while deciding team for next day's stage since then I don't have to go to other websites (mostly cyclingnews) to just check those results.

As for the stage, loved the way Porte put the hammer down on that final climb. For a while I was afraid he might drop Wiggins himself  1 ... so many other contenders for the stage were dropped by his punishing pace and the survivors could barely keep up so forgot all about attacking! Chapeau to him!

Also, probably the first stage in 2 years of fantasy cycling where I (and likely many others) had all the top 4 finishers in their squad  1