The road rose from kilometer zero at Paris – Nice today and despite a fast pace being set, the peloton was all together at the summit of the first of six categorized climbs, the Côte de Gattières, just ten kilometers into the 181.5-kilometer course.
The peloton remained as one until, after around 40 kilometers of racing, on the second climb of the day, the Côte de Gourdon, a large group of 39 riders broke off the front of the main bunch.
CCC Team was represented by de la Parte and De Marchi in the group, which went on to extend an advantage of more than six minutes over the Cote de Gilette and the Côte de Gillette.
On the first of two category one climbs, the Côte de Pelasque, the breakaway started to split but, both de la Parte and De Marchi were strong enough to keep their position at the head of the race.
At the bottom of the brutal Col de Turini, the final challenge of the day, the leaders were holding onto an advantage of more that six minutes over the peloton, and it was clear that the stage would be won by a rider out in front.
On the slopes of the 14.9-kilometer long final climb, which had an average gradient of 7.3% and pitches of over ten percent in places, riders started to attack from the breakaway.
After working well together throughout the day, de la Parte and De Marchi stuck together, riding their own tempo in the first chasing group when four riders went up the road with ten kilometers remaining.
In the end, Daniel Martínez (EF – Education First Pro Cycling) took the win after a late solo attack from the quartet while, the CCC Team duo continued to set their own tempo, digging deep in the final kilometers of the stage to hold off the GC contenders behind.
After six tough days at Paris – Nice and with the race now firmly in the mountains, CCC Team’s sprinter, Jakub Mareczko, stopped racing during stage seven.
De Marchi now sits second overall in the King of the Mountains Classification, 21 points behind Thomas de Gendt (Lott Soudal) with more categorized climbing to come tomorrow.
Qu0tes From the Finish Line
Víctor de la Parte:
“It has been a really hard week for me and I didn’t feel like my form was a good coming into the race after UAE Tour especially with the cold and tough weather conditions at the start. I think I maybe need to get back to some warmer weather to find my top shape. However, I was happy to be in the breakaway today and it was super for the team to have both me and De Marchi in the breakaway. I think we showed that we are a strong team today and so looking forward, I think everything is going in the right direction.”
Alessandro De Marchi:
“Honestly, I was really surprised to be able to stay up there until final. I didn’t have the best feelings and the start was really demanding. However, once we were in the breakaway, I tried to focus on the polka dot jersey competition with De Gendt and followed to make sure I didn’t lose points. Hopefully tomorrow we can try to fight for that but he looks really strong. In the end, I went onto the final climb just trying to stay with the group without much stress and alongside Víctor, I found a good pace to finish the stage of in a good position. I am happy and I think up to this point, this has been one of my best editions of Paris – Nice.”
Paris – Nice
Stage 7: Nice > Col de Turini (181.5km)
Top 3: Daniel Martínez (EF – Education First Pro Cycling) 2. Miguel Ángel López (Astana Pro Team) 3. Nicolas Edet (Cofidis)
CCC Team Top 3: 9. Víctor de la Parte 10. Alessandro De Marchi 24. Laurens Ten Dam