Race report

Aggressive approach as Team DSM animate Stage 3 at Paris-Nice


The third day of racing at Paris-Nice saw the peloton continue their journey south, with 190 kilometres from Vierzon to Dun-le-Palestel and several rolling hills in the finale to contend with. It was a steady start to proceedings with a three rider break escaping early in the day but as the bunch approached the final 35 kilometres their once eight minute gap had diminished to just over one minute.

Setting out with a plan to ride aggressively the team moved forward en-masse, with Cees Bol and Nico Denz doing a great job to drill the pace at the front of the peloton before Søren Kragh Andersen launched a strong attack. Pushing the power, Kragh Andersen managed to build up a 25 second gap over the peloton, drastically eating into the asphalt between him and the remaining breakaway riders. However, due to him still sitting only 39 seconds off the race lead, the yellow jersey holder’s team began to set pace and ultimately at 27 kilometres left he, and the rest of the break, were brought to heel.

Undeterred, the team bided their time before Kragh Andersen once again launched a stinging attack on the last uncategorised climb with eight kilometres to go. Gaining around 20 bike lengths over the peloton, Kragh Andersen dug deep but with numerous teams in the peloton determined to make it a reduced sprint finish, he was once again caught a few kilometres later. Andreas Leknessund immediately attempted to counter over the top of the ascent, but he was quickly marked out by the yellow jersey.

Changing tack, Kevin Vermaerke hit the front in the final three kilometres, drilling the pace to try and set up John Degenkolb for the long and leg-sapping uphill drag to the finish. Degenkolb gave it his all, fighting to the line, but was unable to compete for a top result on the stage. Nonetheless, the team are taking a lot of confidence from their efforts today and will look for more opportunities to animate the race in the days to come.

Speaking after the stage Kragh Andersen said: “Today was a hard final so we tried a bit of an aggressive approach but unfortunately it didn’t pay off in the end. I think our shape is good though and everything is going in a good direction day-by-day, so we’ll look for new opportunities in the coming stages here.” 

Team DSM coach Phil West added: “We wanted to try and have an aggressive final, as we anticipated it would be difficult so we wanted to be on the front foot and try and engage with that, which was then all about positioning onto the finishing circuit. It was quite a big local lap with some challenging climbs so we could make attacks with Søren and Andreas. We also had the possibility for John in the right moment with his strong uphill finish. With the wind being the direction it was then it was hard for us to make the gaps but we really tried to animate the final and we had good intentions. In the end it didn’t work out but we’ll continue with that aggressive style.” 


Pos. Rider Team Time Points
1 PEDERSEN Mads Trek - Segafredo 4:23:29 60
2 COQUARD Bryan Cofidis ,, 25
3 VAN AERT Wout Jumbo-Visma ,, 10
58 DEGENKOLB John Team DSM ,, -
61 LEKNESSUND Andreas Team DSM ,, -
68 KRAGH ANDERSEN Søren Team DSM ,, -
80 VERMAERKE Kevin Team DSM ,, -
106 DENZ Nico Team DSM 10:01 -
140 BOL Cees Team DSM 11:15 -