Bernal seals overall victory at Paris-Nice

17 Mar 2019

Bernal seals overall victory at Paris-Nice

Paris-Nice stage eight: Nice - Nice, 110km

Egan Bernal became the fifth different Team Sky rider to win Paris-Nice after successfully defending his overall lead on an exhilarating final stage of the ‘Race to the Sun’.
 
Bernal came under attack from a host of General Classification riders on the short 110km test around Nice, with compatriot Nairo Quintana the main threat.

However, Bernal’s teammates rallied around him to bring an elite breakaway containing Quintana to heel, which at one point had a large enough advantage to land the Movistar man the yellow jersey, to ensure Bernal won the race, and Michal Kwiatkowski finished third.

Bernal was also the best young rider, Kwiatkowski secured the green jersey for best sprinter and Team Sky topped the team classification to round off an emphatic performance. 
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The stage started with a large attack with several GC threats present, meaning Team Sky had to work on the front of the peloton from the opening kilometres to keep the group within striking distance.

Ilnur Zakarin (Katusha-Alpecin) was the biggest threat to Bernal's yellow jersey at this point, but as the break's numbers - that had swelled to 39 at one point, starting to dwindle, Quintana attacked with 47km remaining. 

The veteran Colombian rider had teammates in the initial break who he was able to bridge to before combining with them to create a gap that saw him move into the virtual race lead with 30km to go

This is where Bernal's teammates worked tirelessly to reel the break in and when eventual stage winner Ion Izagirre (Astana) attacked from the Quintana group on the final climb, it seemed to disturb their rhythm, allowing Kwiatkowski to bring Bernal back to finish in the top 20 and seal a sixth Paris-Nice title for Team Sky.
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Highlights 
Egan Bernal

Egan Bernal

I can’t believe that I just won Paris-Nice. It’s incredible for me. I’m really happy. I... I just can’t believe it yet."
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Egan Bernal

“I can’t believe that I just won Paris-Nice. It’s incredible for me. I’m really happy. I... I just can’t believe it yet.

“When some GC riders started to attack I knew I could follow them, but also I know that I have a really good, strong team, and my team can control these races. 

“So it wasn’t too difficult to be calm because I really believe in my team. They did a really, really good job. We knew it was the last day so they pulled really hard.

“Nairo was really strong but I had a really good team - Kwiato, Sosa, Tao. When Quintana attacked I thought if I followed then after I may be alone. I preferred to wait a little bit, stay calm."
Overall standings

1. Egan Bernal (Team Sky) 29:17:02
2. Nairo Quintana (Movistar) +39"
3. Michal Kwiatkowski (Team Sky) +1'03"
4. Jack Haig (Mitchelton-Scott) +1'21"
5. Romain Bardet (AG2R La Mondiale) +1'45"

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