De La Cruz moves up in Paris-Nice GC
At the end of a tough queen-stage, Etixx – Quick-Step's Spaniard climbed to 22nd in the standings.
Côte de Gattières, Côte de Coursegoules, Côte de la Sigale, Côte d'Ascros, Côte de Levens, Côte Duranus and La Madone d'Utelle were the seven categorized climbs of the penultimate stage in Paris-Nice, seven obstacles for the riders who came in the race ready to give their all in order to get a good result in the overall ranking. Long before the last ascent, Tinkoff put the hammer down and caught the day's break, which included also Dutch champion Niki Terpstra, and forced an important selection, among those to survive the fast pace and stay with the main group until the slopes of the final ascent being also Etixx – Quick-Step's David De La Cruz.
This helped the 26-year-old make a spectacular jump in the general classification, from 48th to 22nd, in what's his first ever presence at "The Race to the Sun". The stage which finished on Madone d'Utelle was won by Ilnur Zakarin (Katusha), who outsprinted Geraint Thomas (Sky). The Brit is now the new leader of the standings, with a 15-second gap on Alberto Contador (Tinkoff), who is lying in second place.
Paris-Nice will come to an end on Sunday, with a 134-km long stage that will see the peloton go over five categorized climbs: Côte de Duranus, Côte de Levens, Côte de Châteauneuf, Col de Calaison, Côte de Peille and Col d'Èze.
Photo credit: ©Tim De Waele