Kwiatkowski in Yellow as Cort Nielsen wins a Hilly Stage 4 at Paris-Nice

The Race to the Sun entered upwards terrain and the Sprinters struggled to stay in contention

Magnus Cort denied the peloton, winning from the breakaway on stage four of Paris-Nice. The early move 13 riders went clear, but it was all in the balance as the race hit the final climb with 10km left to race. Cort and his breakaway companions, including Thomas De Gendt, held the peloton to almost a minute as they hit the final kilometre, when the Dane attacked his three companions.

Team Sky’s Michal Kwiatkowski finished in the main bunch and so takes the overall lead, with a 15 second advantage over Luis León Sánchez (Astana).

Stage four of Paris-Nice was due to be the first real GC test, after crosswinds caused havoc for the overall contenders in the opening three flat stages. A 212km run from Vichy in the middle of France to Pélussin near Lyon awaited the peloton, with plenty of climbing tests along the route. A total of four categorised climbs punctuated the route, including the category one Côte de Condrieu in the final 40km. The last climb came in the last 12km – the 4.1km ascent of Côte de Chavanay, averaging 3.4 per cent.

Early racing was defined by an 13-man breakaway group, that included specialist Thomas De Gendt (Lotto-Soudal), time triallist Alessandro De Marchi (CCC Team) and Magnus Cort (Astana). The peloton gave the escapees more than a six-minute advantage, but opted to start reeling them in during the final 100km.

Race leader and sprinting powerhouse Dylan Groenewegen (Jumbo-Visma) unsurprisingly lost contact as the stage reached its climax, with Team Sky’s Michal Kwiatkowski the leader in waiting if he finished at the head of affairs in Pélussin.

Simon Yates took up the chase for Mitchelton-Scott, with team-mate Matteo Trentin looking comfortable over the undulating course. At the front, the breakaway was reduced to the four strongest – De Gendt, Cort, Ciccone and De Marchi – as they hit the crest of the côte with a 45 second advantage. But the strength of the break was proven as they extended the gap out to almost a minute 8km from the line.

VIDEO: 2019 Paris-Nice Stage 4 Final Kilometre


2019 Paris-Nice Stage 4 Top 10

1 Magnus Cort Nielsen (Den) Astana Pro Team 5:03:49
2 Thomas De Gendt (Bel) Lotto Soudal 0:00:07
3 Giulio Ciccone (Ita) Trek-Segafredo 0:00:13
4 Alessandro De Marchi (Ita) CCC Team 0:00:18
5 Lilian Calmejane (Fra) Direct Energie 0:00:48
6 Valentin Madouas (Fra) Groupama-FDJ 0:00:48
7 Sonny Colbrelli (Ita) Bahrain-Merida 0:00:48
8 Matteo Trentin (Ita) Mitchelton-Scott 0:00:48
9 Philippe Gilbert (Bel) Deceuninck-QuickStep 0:00:48
10 Michal Kwiatkowski (Pol) Team Sky 0:00:48

2019 Paris-Nice General classification after Stage 4

1 Michal Kwiatkowski (Pol) Team Sky 16:52:27
2 Luis León Sanchez (Spa) Astana Pro Team 0:00:05
3 Philippe Gilbert (Bel) Deceuninck-QuickStep 0:00:10
4 Egan Bernal (Col) Team Sky 0:00:11
5 Matteo Trentin (Ita) Mitchelton-Scott 0:00:14
6 Tony Gallopin (Fra) AG2R La Mondiale 0:00:15
7 Rudy Molard (Fra) Groupama-FDJ 0:00:17
8 Romain Bardet (Fra) AG2R La Mondiale 0:00:17
9 Oliver Naesen (Bel) AG2R La Mondiale 0:00:18
10 Felix Großschartner (Aut) Bora-Hansgrohe 0:00:18

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