• Rúben Silva

Paris - Nice Stage 7 Preview

It was a Sunweb day no doubt. With Bahrain not starting the day, the stage was raced very fast and hard from the start, the breakaway never having a lot of room to play with and attacks coming soon in the peloton. Soren Kragh Andersen put everyone under pressure, and in the penultimate climb Tiesj Benoot did a perfect tactical job, combined with strenght to go solo and stay like that until the end. The GC group had attacks all over, but in the end the gaps were caused by a crash by Schachmann in the final kilometer in an extremely sketchy corner, yet he retained his lead.

Positive: Sunweb's race was perfect, although they lost SKA for the overall he wasn't expected to survive tomorrow. Benoot is in great position and Matthews finishing second was the cherry on top.

Negative: Lots of abandons, negative is the race not the riders I will say.

The Route

Stage 7 is the queen stage. As the time-trial is rather short we can be a bit satisfied that the climbing is actually meant to be the decisive factor in this edition. It's a stage that will vastly be ridden through the valleys of the Alpes Maritimes, with some climbing throughout the stage, but to add to the fatigue more than to actually make damage. It will all be played on the final climb where we can see some explosive action.

Although most of the route isn't that hard, the climbers will be looking forward as they tackle the Valdeblore climb at over 16Km in lenght last raced in 2018, the GC will be played out that day and the yellow jersey in the end of the day will likely be consolidated as the winner of the race.

The Weather

No wind to be felt tomorrow but will be a cold cold day. But there isn't much descending so it won't really be felt much, and risk of getting sick isn't really a big issue cause *chuckles* no-ones really thinking of any racing in the near future.

The Favourites

I'll be honest folks I wasn't expecting on writing this, right after the stage the French cycling federation called for all races to be cancelled. It would seem as though it isn't the case of Paris-Nice and the race will go on to finish in it's shortened schedule, tomorrow is the final and queen stage. I will keep it short.

The week has prepared us for what is to happen tomorrow. In a defensive state will be Bora and Max Schachmann will be looking to save his yellow jersey, and Felix Grossschartner will be of great support or a big card to play aswel. Sunweb will be the other team who will hope for an easier race, Tiesj Benoot is a strong climber but is in a grey spot where if it's too hard he has riders who will take time from him, and Michael Matthews is still in a strong 5th place overall so he will try to save something GC-wise.

On the attacking side, just everyone go nuts! Quintana had bad luck on a crash and lost a lot of time, he is still looking great though and will surely be looking to attack and mainly get a stage win. Vincenzo Nibali is in his terrain, isn't in peak form but is enough to probably dethrone many riders in front of him. Thibaut Pinot isn't looking at his best aswell but his GC is very good for now, Rudy Molard in the same situation and they may try something tomorrow. And the other rider is Sergio Higuita, main contender in the eyes of many, he's been looking super sharp and is in his terrain tomorrow, he can really do some damage, but with his team seriously depleted (despite a strong Tanel Kangert still in support), he'll depend on other teams to push the race hard.

Wildcards? Deceuninck, Jungels/Alaphillipe have a chance, but only in a breakaway scenario. In a peloton, look for Guillaume Martin.

Prediction Time

Quintana, Higuita Nibali, Pinot, G.Martin Benoot, Grossschartner, Molard, Alaphillipe, Jungels

Let's throw it for Kingtana! He deserves it let's be honest, and he is looking as strong as ever despite the crash some days ago.

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