Paris-Nice (st. 6)
Gallopin (LTS) takes yellow in Paris-Nice after crowning carousel of breakaways in the Promenade des Anglais – Erviti Dayer Quintana, fine Ion Izagirre feature in moves; Gorka finishes in 11th, will start Col d'Eze TT in ninth overall
Stage six in Paris-Nice contained all elements to make a racing day epic: rain and cold from the start, six categorized climbs -for a total 184.5km between Vence and the capital of the Alpes-Maritimes-, attacks, relentless high pace, dangerous moments and courage which the Movistar Team adopted as his from the very beginning of the day. No less than three of the Blues made it into a massive, 31-rider escape, with Imanol Erviti and Dayer Quintana supporting Ion Izagirre as the Basque tried to make up for misfortune in the last few weeks.
Izagirre entered an elite selection created through the ascent towards Saint-Roch (Cat-1), nine riders under pursuit of a group of favourites which never let them earn more than three minutes' gap, and always containing the older of the saga, Gorka. The leader of the telephone squad stayed calm and strong and chased the moves by race leader Kwiatkowski (EQS), into the penultimate descent, and later by Porte and Thomas (SKY). With both crashing and Ion's escape brought back, Frenchman Tony Gallopin (LTS) profited from vigilance to jump and amass a gap into the descent enough for the stage win and the race lead at the Promenade des Anglais' finish.
Behind the four-man group two, made by Spilak (KAT), Costa (LAM), Fuglsang (AST) and Valls (LAM), Izagirre stayed with the favourites and crossed the line in 11th at 1'00", which keeps him into the overall top-ten -he's now in ninth spot, one minute and nineteen seconds back-. The Ormaiztegi-based rider will fight to conserve that place or even improve it into the 10km uphill TT showdown towards the Col d'Èze on Sunday.