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by Mark Zalewski
March 14, 2017
In today’s CyclingTips Daily News Digest: Gaviria continues strong sprint season at Tirreno-Adriatico; Froome apologises for Team Sky controversy; Pooley says not to judge British Cycling over actions of its leaders; Riders, managers complain ASO has made Paris-Nice too tough; Dumoulin on becoming GrandTour rider; Sagan would be happy to see Boonen win Roubaix; Nibali, team still working on finding their groove; Kreuziger abandons Tirreno, leaving team with four; Tirreno-Adriatico: Stage six highlights; Crazy winds force cancellation of Cape Town Cycle Tour; Commuting can be dangerous.
The 2017 edition of Paris-Nice, or the ‘Race to the Sun,’ ended Sunday with Colombian Grand Tour climber Sergio Henao (Team Sky) taking the overall win, in a dramatic battle with another Grand Tour contender, Alberto Contador (Trek-Segafredo). However, some riders and managers are pointing to this result as a problem for the race, saying that it is too early in the season to be subjecting riders to such a tough parcours — in particular the stage summit finish to Mont Brouilly — that helped produce this result.
“I do not get it,” Quick Step Floors boss Patrick Lefevere told Het Nieuwsblad. “We finished at 1,600 meters where hundreds of spectators were standing at the finish line at Mont Brouilly and riders had to change clothes in the street. Naked on a cold mountaintop. Cycling has become only climbing. Look at the results. It’s like the Tour. Alaphilippe’s fifth is the exception. The organizers must keep in mind that the riders make the race and not vice versa.”
While the weather on the first two played a large role in forcing some riders, particularly sprinters, to abandon, the increase in the toughness of the climbing stages played into the hands of the pure climbers for the overall.
“Was that finish on Saturday necessary?” Philippe Gilbert asked. “They were lucky that it was not snowing. Honestly, I do not know. I know that the organizer wants to compete with Tirreno-Adriatico, but where does it end? Should the riders climb to 3,000 metres? Behind snow plows?”
“What is the purpose of a race like Paris-Nice?” said Trek-Segafredo sports director Alain Gallopin. “I think the organizers erred. This was like a stage in the Dauphiné to prepare for the Tour, not Paris-Nice. It’s like everywhere they only want Quintana, Contador and Froome to win. If you are not a great climber you have little to offer in the WorldTour races.”
Click through to read more at Het Nieuwsblad.