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Jumbo rampage delivers Paris-Nice surprise for rookie

Meanwhile, Irish pair Ryan Mullen and Sam Bennett finished 84th and 85th respectively.

Christophe Laporte (file pic).
Christophe Laporte (file pic).
Image: Alamy Stock Photo

PRIMOZ ROGLIC and Wout van Aert stepped aside at Paris-Nice on Sunday and let new Jumbo team-mate Christophe Laporte win stage one and the yellow jersey after dropping the peloton in a stunning attack.

The triumph gives triple Vuelta a Espana champion Roglic a massive boost in his bid to win an event that looked to be his before a last-day crash in 2021.

There was also Irish interest in the race, as Ryan Mullen and Sam Bennett of Bora–Hansgrohe finished 84th and 85th respectively.

The flat opening stage of the eight-day race had been set up for a likely bunch sprint, but the Dutch team, packed with powerful riders, broke away 5km from home on a small incline and the trio eventually crossed the line 20 seconds ahead.

Senior riders Roglic and Van Aert had a brief chat and then told Laporte, on his first big race in his first season with Jumbo, to edge ahead and take the honours.

“It’s incredible,” Laporte said at the line. “They told me first about 1km away from the line, it wasn’t planned and neither was the attack. Primoz and Wout were well placed and we just went for it.”

The result means two-time defending champion Maximilian Schachmann of Bora now trails chief rival Roglic by 36 seconds.

Runner-up last season Russian rider Aleksandr Vlasov, who spoke out against the war in Ukraine on Thursday, came in with the main pack 22sec off the pace.

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Contenders for the title at Nice next Sunday, who came in at 22sec, are UAE’s Joao Almeida, Colombian climber Nairo Quintana, Britain’s Simon Yates of Bike Exchange, his twin Adam Yates of Ineos and teammate Daniel Martinez, winner of the 2021 Criterium du Dauphine.

Monday’s second stage runs through the vast agricultural plains between Paris and Orleans, and may also be decided by a breakaway.

You can view the results in full here.

– © AFP 2022

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