Paris-Nice 2017: Simon Yates solos to stage six victory in Fayence

Brit attacks on final climb to take victory and move into top ten overall

Great Britain’s Simon Yates (Orica-Scott) soloed to victory on stage six of Paris-Nice 2017 as the race hit the mountains for the first time.

The young Brit – wearing the white jersey, as he lies second in the best young rider category behind race leader Julian Alaphilippe (QuickStep Floors) – attacked on the final lap of the finishing circuit and opened up a big lead before the final climb.

And despite a flurry of action behind, which saw Colombian champion Sergio Henao (Team Sky) take a few seconds out of Alaphilippe’s overall lead, the stage win never looked in doubt as Yates dug deep to bag his first win of 2017.

The victory follows his twin brother Adam’s success at the GP Industria last weekend, and bodes well for the two as they prepare to share the team leadership at the Giro d’Italia in May.

Simon Yates grabbed his first victory of 2017 on stage six of Paris-Nice (pic – ASO)

Starting with the first category climb of the Col de l’Espogoulier almost immediately, the peloton was already trimmed by the time a compact bunch – despite an early flurry of attacks – contested the first intermediate sprint.

Riders continued to attack, with Cyril Gautier (Ag2r-La Mondiale) and Ben King (Dimension Data) among the most active, but neither got in the eight-man move which finally stuck.

Ben Swift (UAE Abu Dhabi), looking for form ahead of Milan-San Remo, was in the eight-man move, while Movistar had a numerical advantage with Winner Anacona and Jose Herrada present.

An attack by Alessandro de Marchi (BMC Racing) and Eduardo Sepulveda (Fortuneo-Vital Concept) meant they were the only two leaders left with 40km to go, and their advantage had been virtually wiped out when they crossed the Fayence finish line for the first time.

Team Sky – and Mikel Nieve on particular – put a big dig in on the front of the peloton, but Yates distanced the front group as they approached the summit of the Col de Bourigaille.

Yates had opened up his advantage to 45 seconds as he approached the base of the final climb, despite the efforts of Irish champion Nicolas Roche (BMC Racing) on the front of the chasing group.

Out of the saddle, the young Brit danced up the climb – allaying any suggestions he may have had nothing left for the final ascent.

Richie Porte came out of his team-mate’s wheel to put in the first dig from the chasing group, and Sergio Henao (Team Sky) countered to distance yellow jersey Julian Alaphilippe (QuickStep Floors).

It closed the gap to Yates, who had one of the steepest ramps by this point, but the Orica-Scott man never looked likely to be denied his stage win.

ates distanced the front group as they approached the summit of the Col de Bourigaille (pic: ASO)

Behind him, Henao rolled in second and Porte took third, but Alaphilippe held off his remaining challengers – thanks in no small part to a big dig from team-mate Dan Martin at the end – as he crossed in fourth place.

The result moves Yates up to eighth overall, 1.37 behind Alaphilippe, while Henao is now 46 seconds in arrears with two mountain stages to go over the final weekend.

Paris-Nice 2017: stage six – result

1) Simon Yates (GBR) – Orica-Scott – 4.37.51hrs
2) Sergio Henao (COL) – Team Sky +17”
3) Richie Porte (AUS) – BMC Racing +26”
4) Julian Alaphilippe (FRA) – QuickStep Floors +29”
5) Dan Martin (IRL) – QuickStep Floors – ST
6) Ion Izaguirre (ESP) – Bahrain-Merida +32”
7) Jakob Fuglsang (DEN) – Astana – ST
8) Alberto Contador (ESP) – Trek-Segafredo
9) Ilnur Zakarin (RUS) – Katusha
10) Tony Gallopin (FRA) – Lotto-Soudal

General classification

1) Julian Alaphilippe (FRA) – QuickStep Floors – 21.58.22hrs
2) Tony Gallopin (FRA) – Lotto-Soudal +36”
3) Sergio Henao (COL) – Team Sky +46”
4) Gorka Izaguirre (ESP) – Movistar +57”
5) Dan Martin (IRL) – QuickStep Floors +1.20
6) Ilnur Zakarin (RUS) – Katusha-Alpecin +1.31
7) Alberto Contador (ESP) – Trek-Segafredo +1.34
8) Simon Yates (GBR) – Orica-Scott +1.37
9) Ion Izaguirre (ESP) – Bahrain-Merida +2.04
10) Warren Barguil (FRA) – Team Sunweb +3.08


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