Paris-Nice 2014: stage eight – five observations

Carlos Betancur seals biggest career win as the young and French star

Colombian climbing ace Carlos Bentacur’s debut season with Ag2r-La Mondiale pointed to some serious talent – not least with a phenomenal ride at the Giro d’Italia – and he has duly delivered up on his potential so far this season. Betancur finished fifth in the Italian Grand Tour last year, winning the young rider’s classification in the process. And this year, the Colombian has been in top form, winning the Tour du Haut Var and now Paris-Nice, picking up a total of three stage victories along the way.

Carlos Betancur’s performances also earned the white jersey of best young rider – a mark of the magnitude of his success (pic: P.Perreve/ASO)

His stated aims for the 2014 season are the Ardennes Classics and the Tour de France, and he is certainly carrying the form to be a contender at both. The undulating stages of Paris-Nice were designed with the Classics in mind, and the fact Betancur won two of them – the first under his own team and the second courtesy of a strong team performances – points to him being able to replicate it in the hilly Classics. As for the Tour de France, he proved at the Giro d’Italia he can challenge overall. The yellow jersey may be a step too far at this stage, but the white jersey is a very definite possibility.

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