Paris-Nice 2014: stage eight – five observations

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

Jose Joaquin Rojas (Movistar) is a perennial contender for stage honours, but despite extraordinary consistency remains the archetypal nearly man. Fourth on stage one, third on stage three, fourth again on stage seven and now second in Nice on stage eight. Rojas can mix it with the sprinters, the rouleurs and the puncheurs, but boasts just a handful of stage and one-day race wins to his name. A jack of all trades it seems, he is still yet to be a master of one.

Jose Joaquin Rojas contemplates second place as Arthur Vichot celebrates his stage win (pic: P.Perreve/ASO)

But fourth place overall, against a strong field in a very difficult race, where the unpredicatable nature of each stage meant even the slightest error could prove costly, shows he is certainly capable as a contender. Rojas has proved himself as a domestique and when riding for himself, and in a strong Movistar squad does not look out of place. He was unlucky too, had any other rider beaten him to stage eight, his second place would have been enough to make the final step of the podium. Just 49 points separated Movistar and Team Sky in the world team rankings last season. From this one race Rojas already has 68 to his name. They say only the winners get remembered, but Rojas’ consistency should not be understated.

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