Alaphilippe time trials onto Paris-Nice podium
A beautiful effort of the Frenchman catapulted him to third place overall after the race's sole stage against the clock.
outside the top 15 in the first four stages, showed that again in the tough individual time trial that was expected to have a big say in the fight for the general classification, where Quick-Step Floors' leader sat in fourth position after spicing up Tuesday's hilly stage with several spectacular attacks.
With the riders setting off in reverse order of the overall standings, Julian was among the last to start the 18.4km effort against the clock between La Fouillouse and Saint-Étienne, which contained two unclassified climbs, one averaging 3.6% over 7.6 kilometers, and a second one featuring in the second part of the course, 1000 meters at an average gradient of 6.4%.
Alaphilippe, winner of the individual time trial at the previous edition of his home race, had the seventh fastest time at the intermediate checkpoint, but made amends on the descent, cutting the corners like a possessed man and going full gas on the second hill of the day, before storming to the finish line, where he managed to reduce the deficit he initially had on winner Wout Poels (Team Sky), thus slotting into third place for his first World Tour podium of the season.
"Yesterday I was disappointed after trying several times but without success, so today I was really focused on doing a good time trial, it was very important for me. I was also motivated because I got to ride my new Shiv for the first time and was super happy to see how fast it is. Ok, I didn't have the best feeling in the first kilometers of the time trial and lost some seconds there, but I bounced back in the second half and gave it all. Third place in such a hard ITT is a good result and I'll continue to take it day by day and do my best until we reach Nice", said Julian Alaphilippe, third now in the general classification, less than half a minute behind the yellow jersey wearer.
On Thursday, the peloton will travel from Salon-de-Provence to Sisteron, which will act as finish venue at Paris-Nice for the eighth time in history. Packing four classified climbs on the course, including the first-category Col de Lagarde d'Apt (11 kilometers, 7%), means that the difficult stage 5 has everything it takes to witness new changes in the rankings.
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