Tiesj Benoot and Michael Matthews take incredible 1-2 at Paris-Nice
Max Schachmann keeps the yellow jersey on first mountain stage of Paris-Nice, despite crashing. Final Stage 8 cancelled due to Corona Virus.
A perfect and incredible team display on stage six of Paris-Nice saw Tiesj Benoot take his first win in Team Sunweb colours, with Michael Matthews winning the sprint from the reduced group behind to make a 1-2 for the team.
After attacks from Nikias Arndt and Søren Kragh Andersen softened up the peloton which saw both go solo to set up Benoot to perfection, the 26 year old Belgian then made his decisive move on the last climb. Not to be seen again by the peloton, Benoot was able to sit up and savour the win as he rolled across the line, arms aloft - the team's second win at Paris-Nice and the Men's program seventh of the season.
Six categorised climbs were going to make stage 6 one of the toughest of the race so far. While the hardest on this 161.5km day was a second category, once all of these ascents had been dealt with, the riders would be feeling it in their legs. Initially, a seven-man break went out, dropping in number as the climbs were crossed. The pace had been driven hard all day with BORA-hansgrohe protecting race leader, Maximilian Schachmann, and by the time the distance remaining dipped below 20km, there were only two on the front and the gap had dropped to less than twenty seconds, catching them shortly after.
The final climb was to prove pivotal, with its steep slopes being used as a springboard for late attacks, with one rider going off alone here. Maximilian fought hard to close down the moves, with Felix Grossschartner alongside him, with the lead group stretching out and then re-forming as they descended. Felix worked with another rider to bridge the gap to the lone rider on the front, while further back, Maximilian responded well when the attacks came from the yellow jersey group. Pushing hard on the descent, less than a kilometre from the line, Maximilian slid out on a corner, hitting a wall. While the crash looked scary, the German GC leader jumped back on his bike seemingly unscathed and rode hard to get to the finish line and limit his losses – keeping hold of the yellow jersey ahead of a difficult day in the mountains tomorrow.
VIDEO: 2020 Paris-Nice Stage 6 Highlights
2020 Paris-Nice Stage 6 Top 10
1 Tiesj Benoot (Bel) Team Sunweb 3:57:02
2 Michael Matthews (Aus) Team Sunweb 0:00:22
3 Sergio Andres Higuita Garcia (Col) EF Pro Cycling
4 Bob Jungels (Lux) Deceuninck-Quickstep 0:00:23
5 Julian Alaphilippe (Fra) Deceuninck-Quickstep
6 Vincenzo Nibali (Ita) Trek-Segafredo 0:00:26
7 Thibaut Pinot (Fra) Groupama-FDJ 0:00:29
8 Guillaume Martin (Fra) Cofidis
9 Rudy Molard (Fra) Groupama-FDJ
10 Nairo Quintana (Col) Team Arkea-Samsic
2020 Paris-Nice GC after Stage 6
1 Maximilian Schachmann (Ger) Bora-Hansgrohe 22:46:42
2 Tiesj Benoot (Bel) Team Sunweb 0:00:18
3 Sergio Andres Higuita Garcia (Col) EF Pro Cycling 0:00:43
4 Felix Grossschartner (Aut) Bora-Hansgrohe 0:00:50
5 Michael Matthews (Aus) Team Sunweb 0:00:52
6 Vincenzo Nibali (Ita) Trek-Segafredo 0:01:04
7 Rudy Molard (Fra) Groupama-FDJ 0:01:18
8 Thibaut Pinot (Fra) Groupama-FDJ 0:01:19
9 Tanel Kangert (Est) EF Pro Cycling 0:01:34
10 Julian Alaphilippe (Fra) Deceuninck-Quickstep 0:01:47