Kwiatkowski closes in on overall lead at Paris-Nice

12 Mar 2019

Kwiatkowski closes in on overall lead at Paris-Nice

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Paris-Nice stage three: Cepoy - Moulins/Yzeure, 200km

Michal Kwiatkowski closed the gap on race leader Dylan Gronewegen (Team Jumbo Visma) by with an intelligent ride on stage three of Paris-Nice.

Kwiatkowski and Egan Bernal were both alert to pick up bonus seconds at the intermediate sprints, with the Polish national champion winning both available, to move to within six seconds of Gronewegen as Sam Bennett (Bora-Hansgrohe) won a bunch sprint. 
Again, the expertise of road captain Luke Rowe was on show in the final kilometres as he helped exploit crosswinds to initially split the peloton and then ensure a good position at the front of the pack for the GC duo ahead of a technical run to the line.

Several Team Sky riders had been caught up behind a large crash with 30 kilometres remaining, but they were able to get back into contention, with Tao Geoghegan Hart - who suffered a small crash on stage two - helping Rowe command a strong position in the peloton and creating a platform for Bernal and Kwiatkowski to launch their sprint from and move up the General Classification.  
Michal Kwiatkowski

Michal Kwiatkowski

If you think about 14 seconds it’s a huge amount. Think about trying to be 14 seconds faster in a time trial, for instance, that could mean winning the whole GC."
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Michal Kwiatkowski:

"When there’s a chance to gain some time on GC by not expending too much energy, we are always up for it. There was plenty of chances to take bonus seconds in the sprints - there weren’t too many GC riders fighting for it.

"If you think about 14 seconds it’s a huge amount. Think about trying to be 14 seconds faster in a time trial, for instance, that could mean winning the whole GC. 

"I’m really thankful to the whole team that we really stayed out of trouble for these first three days. It was really hectic and having riders like Luke at your side takes a bit of pressure off your shoulders. It’s so much easier to ride in the bunch.

"I’m really happy to see Egan performing so well in the wind too. Sharing the leadership with him is amazing. We’re looking forward to the next few days because we came here looking to win this race."
What's next?

Wednesday features another long stage of over 200km from Vichy to Pélussin which features several punchy climbs that will could mean the final could be a key stage for the General Classification riders.
Overall standings

1. Dylan Groenewegen (Jumbo-Visma) 11:47:44
2. Michal Kwiatkowski (Team Sky) +6"
3. Luis Leon Sanchez (Astana) +11"
4. Philippe Gilbert (Deceuninck-Quick Step) +16"
5. Egan Bernal (Team Sky) +17"

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