It’s been another rip-roaring edition of Paris-Nice. Marc 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.
Flat, hilly, tortuous: Giro Stage 8 had it all and the pace was fast and furious throughout. The route demanded patience and power and the winner delivered with Gorka Izagirre picking his moment to take his first Grand Tour stage win. Mikel Landa launched an attack near the end, threatening the lead of Bob Jungels, but a diligent QuickStep team helped the Luxembourg rider retain the pink. Astana’s Luis León Sánchez offered his tribute to his late teammate Michele Scarponi by soloing on a long breakaway and just missing out on the win.
With a saw tooth profile and a finish atop the Paracombe, stage two was always going to end in a climbers showdown. They delivered and we watched a show of pure GRINTA! Let’s get down to the fireworks.