Dubai: Paris-Nice organisers were forced to cancel Friday’s sixth stage of the so-called ‘race to the sun’ due to “exceptionally violent” gusts of wind.
The decision was taken “to ensure the riders’ safety” after trees were blown down in the region.
“I weigh 60 kilos, I couldn’t stay on my bike with a wind like this,” said last year’s Tour de France winner Jonas Vingegaard.
The cancelled stage was a hilly 197.4km ride from Tourves to La Colle-sur-Loup.
The stage had already been shortened to miss out the first section with a new start at the 117.8km mark at La Fontaine d’Aragon, before it became evident conditions were too dicey.
Pierre-Yves Thouault, one of the race organisers, said that when the police and some of his team had checked out part of the route they came across fallen trees.
“Their cars were being hit by tiles. We have to be sensible. Paris-Nice is like this, with sometimes complicated weather conditions,” he added.
Two-time former Tour de France champion Tadej Pogacar leads the race with two stages remaining.
Eleven departments in France are on hight alert for strong winds on Friday.
A nice day
In the fifth stage, longest of Paris-Nice at 212km, UAE Team Emirates policed the peloton to defend the lead of Tadej Pogacar. The Slovenian, who was victorious on Thursday on the stage to La Loge des Gardes, kept calm to hold his lead while Matteo Trentin took fourth in the bunch sprint, which was won by Olav Kooij (Jumbo Visma).
Pogacar said: “I enjoyed the first day in yellow, and it was a nice day, finally some sun and no stress, so it was a nice day.
“Even tomorrow, it will be stressful, a classic stage, and anything can happen with a lot of surprises. Stage 7 is the most predictable, and you need to measure your effort to the top. I like the final stage the most.”
At Tirreno Adriatico Adam Yates fought to the line to take third place in the uphill battle for stage 4 from Greccio to Tortoreto (218km), which was won by Primo Roglic (Jumbo-Visma).
Almeida, who finished on the same time as the leaders moves up to third place on GC and takes the white jersey as leader of the young riders classification.
UAE Team Emirates sit in a commanding position with McNulty also 4th place overall heading into stage 5 from Morro d’Oro to Sarnano-Sassotetto (168km).
Almeida: “It was a good day, quite a long and hard stage. Tomorrow and Saturday are very tough stages too. The goal is to dispute the race and aim for the victory. We are well placed at the moment with myself and Brandon so we’ll aim to do something in the coming stages.”
Paris Nice Stage 5 results
1. Olav Kooij (Jumbo-Visma) 5:19:54
2. Mads Pedersen (Trek-Segafredo) s.t
3. Tim Merlier (Soudal-Quickstep) s.t
4. Matteo Trentin (UAE Team Emirates s.t
Paris Nice General Classification
1. Tadej Pogacar (UAE Team Emirates) 17:14:52
2. David Gaudu (Groupama — FDJ) +6’’
3. Jonas Vingegaard (Jumbo-Visma) +46’’
Tirreno Adriatico stage 4 results
1. Primoz Roglic (Jumbo-Visma) 5:00:04
2. Julian Alaphilippe (Soudal-Quickstep) s.t
3. Adam Yates (UAE Team Emirates) s.t
8. Joao Almeida (UAE Team Emirates) s.t
Tirreno Adriatico General Classification
1. Lennard Kemna (Bora-Hansgrohe) 15:38:46
2. Primoz Roglic (Jumbo-Visma) +6’’
3. Joao Almeida (UAE Team Emirates) +8’’
4. Brandon McNulty (UAE Team Emirates) +13’’