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by Shane Stokes
March 10, 2018
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French rider Rudy Molard pulled off the biggest win of his career on Friday, racing to victory on the mountainous sixth stage of Paris-Nice. The Groupama-FDJ rider benefited from local knowledge to grab success in Vence, reaching the line two seconds clear of a 15-man chase group led in by Tim Wellens (Lotto-Soudal), Julian Alaphilippe (Quick-Step Floors) and yellow jersey Luis León Sanchez (Astana Pro Team).
Molard jumped clear with just over a kilometre to go and was able to hold off those behind. He lives 20 kilometres from the finish and was able to benefit from that. “I knew the course like the palm of my hand. Since the profile of this Paris-Nice was announced, I was delighted with such a finale which suited my qualities,” he said. “I was on a good day and it’s fantastic to win a stage here. I really needed to attack before the sprint. I tried several times and it worked. It’s just great.”
The stage began in Sisteron and covered 198 kilometres and five categorised climbs. An 11-man break went clear early on and from this four riders later pushed ahead, namely Thomas De Gendt (Lotto Soudal), Fabien Grellier (Direct Energie), Amael Moinard (Fortuneo-Samsic) and Thomas Scully (EF-Drapac).
Simon Yates (Mitchelton-Scott) attacked on the first category Côte de la Colle sur Loup near the finish, putting race leader Sanchez in difficulty. He was joined by Alaphilippe and Wout Poels (Team Sky), the rider who had started the day second overall, but the latter crashed out.
They were reeled in, then Molard played his hand and held on to take his biggest win. Sanchez continues to lead, while Alaphilippe is 22 seconds back in second overall and Marc Soler (Movistar team) a further four seconds behind in third.