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by Shane Stokes
March 9, 2018
Kittel takes first win of season on stage 2 of Tirreno-Adriatico; Cousin snags victory on stage 5 of Paris-Nice; Rib fracture diagnosed for Cavendish; How Wiggins’ reputation could be stabilised; Living legend: A chat with 106-year-old record-breaking rider Robert Marchand; Triathete suffers bad cuts to legs after being attacked with a chainsaw; Australian bike and frame tariff application withdrawn, 5% e-bike tariff still stands; Giro della Donna adds women’s and men’s NRS race in 2018; Video: Nils Politt – post-race interview – Stage 5 – Paris-Nice 2018; Video: This Was Hard But So Beautiful. | Strade Bianche. – Ep.3
Using tactics that will be described as strategic by his team but as wheelsucking by many others, Direct Energie’s Jerome Cousin grabbed the win on stage 5 of Paris-Nice. The Frenchman sat glued to the wheel of Katusha-Alpecin’s Nils Politt in the final, then came around him with 200 metres to go and pulled clear.
“I had cramps towards the end,” Cousin claimed. “The goal was to go for the breakaway and take the KOM jersey. I did not spare my efforts and we had a tacit agreement that if I went for the climbers they would leave me alone on the flat. Now when I saw that the victory was possible I worked hard to go after the Katusha rider and I played with his balls a little. That’s the way I won. I’m so generous in my efforts all year and I was beaten in similar circumstances so many times before that I decided to maneuver differently for once and see if it worked. I didn’t rob this.”
The race began in Salon-de-Provence and travelled 165 lumpy kilometres to Sisteron. Cousin, Nicolas Edet (Cofidis) and Julien El Fares (Delko Marseille Provence) broke clear from the start. They were soon joined by Politt, and established a maximum lead of over five minutes. Cousin picked up the mountains points and snagged the KOM jersey.
Once onto the finishing circuits, the break still retained two minutes of its lead. Politt attacked and was then caught on the Cote de la Marquise climb by Cousin, who took yet more KOM points. He then profited from the German’s driving in the finale, grabbing the win.
Luis León Sanchez (Astana Pro Team) retains the race leadership, holding a 15 second gap over Wout Poels (Team Sky) and 26 seconds on Julian Alaphilippe (Quick-Step Floors).