Paris-Nice 2018: Soler shines in Race to the Sun

It’s been another rip-roaring edition of Paris-NiceMarc Soler took his maiden WorldTour victory after a final day three-man, long-range Spanish smash-and-grab stage. Soler finished third on the day but with enough time on the chasing pack, which included the yellow jersey, plus bonus seconds, to catapult the Movistar rider from sixth to the top step. Mitchelton-Scott’s Simon Yates stepped down to second place (by just 4sec) with Gorka Izagirre (Bahrain-Merida) rounding out the podium.

Rider of the Race

For the past two years, runner-up Alberto Contador won Rider of the Race for enlivening Paris-Nice in a way only he could. This year, the award goes to the rider seen by many in Spain as the man most capable of inheriting his mantle. Movistarlet Marc Soler is Spain’s great tour hope and the 24-year-old rider is oft compared to legend Miguel Indurain due to his physical appearance, huge engine, racing style and ability to recover quickly. Winner of the race, best young rider, runner-up in the individual TT and third-placed in the final denouement, he’s a rider to keep your eye on this season. Post-race, looking bemused at what he’d achieved, Soler said:

I cannot believe it. All my teammates have performed very well throughout the week and today we were able to finish all that work. Personally I did not expect it, especially after having lost time yesterday. But we had already planned with the team to attack from far out. We thought there would be a big break like last year, but in the end it did not come out, although Fraile was ahead and I took the opportunity to go with De la Cruz and Ion [Izagirre] on the first category climb, which is where I had planned to attack. Once the gap was made, it was only necessary to go all the way to the finish line. I have never won a WorldTour race and for me all this is a dream. To be on the palmarés with the people who have won this race is incredible.

Fresh(ish) Faces

Promenade des Anglais Espagnols

Six Spaniards in the top ten on today’s stage and four in the top ten overall!

So Not a Race to the Sun

Sadly, the sun didn’t grace the Cote d’Azur with its presence for the final week-end until shortly after the finish – albeit a weak and watery shadow of itself. Instead, after glorious sunshine in Provence, riders gritted their teeth in Dantesque conditions – wind and lashing rain – which provoked numerous crashes, multiple abandons (particularly from the sprinters) and widespread flu. Some teams only had one man left standing by the end!

Final results

1  Marc Soler (Movistar) 30:22:41

2  Simon Yates (Mitchelton-Scott) +0:04

3  Gorka Izagirre (Bahrain-Merida) +0:14

4  Ion Izagirre (Bahrain-Merida) +0:16

5  Tim Wellens (Lotto Soudal) same time


Points Jersey: Tim Wellens (Lotto Soudal)

King of the Mountains Jersey: Thomas De Gendt (Lotto Soudal)

Best Young Rider: Marc Soler (Movistar)

Team Classification Leader: Bahrain – Merida

Stage winners:

Stage 1:  Arnaud Demare (Groupama-FDJ) Final KM here

Stage 2:  Dylan Groenewegen (LottoNL – Jumbo) Final KM here

Stage 3:  Jonathan Hivert (Direct Energie) Final KM here

Stage 4:  Wout Poels (Sky) Final KM here

Stage 5:  Jerome Cousin (Direct Energie) Final KM here

Stage 6:  Rudy Molard (Groupama-FDJ) Final KM here

Stage 7:   Simon Yates (Mitchelton-Scott) Final KM here

Stage 8:   Davide De la Cruz (Quick-Step Floors) Final KM here

Links: Official race websiteTwitter #ParisNice and Facebook

All images courtesy of Paris-Nice

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