Paris-Nice ended without a stage victory for Team KATUSHA ALPECIN but the evaluation after eight days of racing in dantesque as well as nice weather circumstances is rather positive.
- We came here with two objectives, to win a stage and to finish in top ten with Ilnur Zakarin. Ilnur finished 6th overall, so that’s okay, but we did not win a stage. That’s why we are not for hundred percent satisfied. With a second and a third place we came close. We tried many times, which is good. Now we focus on the classics. 70% of our team here were the classics riders. Their condition is good. Also Ilnur showed already a good shape and his first big goal, the Giro d’Italia, is still far ahead, - said General Manager José Azevedo.
The short (115,5 km) eighth stage from Nice to Nice featured 4 climbs, including the Col d’Èze, and brought cycling fans spectacular and dramatic racing till the end. Alberto Contador (Trek-Segafredo), 3rd overall, 31 seconds behind race leader Sergio Henao (Team Sky), attacked and dropped Henao with 52 km to go. He held a lead of 1 minute but that gap gradually diminished and at the finish there were just 21 seconds left. Contador finished second in the stage behind David De La Cruz (Quick-Step Floors) and missed that way the ten seconds bonification that would cost him the overall win. Sergio Henao held on to win Paris-Nice by two seconds.
Ilnur Zakarin finished 14th, in the group of Henao, and ends Paris-Nice 6th overall, 1’34” behind the Colombian rider.
Alberto Losada (knee problem) and Alexander Kristoff did not start any more in the last stage of Paris-Nice.
- It was planned that Alexander would not start. Already next Saturday there is Milano-Sanremo for him. It is more important that he can have an extra day of recovery. Today’s stage was a short one, not suited at all for him, and the riders were just three hours on the bike. That’s why we decided to let him skip the stage, - added José Azevedo.
Photo credit: © Tim De Waele