For the second time in Paris-Nice 2022, Jumbo-Visma riders occupied the whole podium of a stage. This time Wout Van Aert, Primož Roglič and Rohan Dennis finished 1-2-3 in the hilly 13 kilometre time-trial that suited them perfectly.
Jumbo-Visma brought to Paris-Nice practically their Tour de France A-team (absent Vingegaard and Kuss) and it is not a big surprise how well they are doing. In stage 1 Laporte, Roglič and Van Aert road everyone off their wheels on a small climb and now the Jumbo bees dominated in the time-trial. Both Van Aert and Roglič were the main favourites and they lived up to expectations, finishing 1st and 2nd. Van Aert now leads the GC by 10 seconds and his biggest threat is team-mate, Primož Roglič, who is in second place with a massive gap of 39 seconds to Simon Yates.
Simon Yates started surprisingly well in the ITT, setting the fastest time in the intermediate checkpoint, where he beat Van Aert by 2 seconds. Unfortunately for him, he obviously started too hard and finished 5th, in the end losing to Van Aert by 13 seconds and going slower than expected on the final 800 metre 7% climb. Regardless it is still a very impressive performance for Yates, who won a hilly ITT in Paris-Nice 2019 and was the best of the other GC contenders.
How much time the GC favourites are behind Wout Van Aert:
- Primož Roglič +0:10
- Simon Yates +0:49
- Pierre Latour +0:51
- Daniel Martinez +1:06
- Aleksandr Vlasov +1:09
- Adam Yates +1:21
- Jack Haig +1:45
- Clement Champoussin +1:54
- Nairo Quintana +1:55
Nairo Quintana (54th, +1:17 to Van Aert) and Joao Almeida underperformed by their standards (22nd, +0:47). It will be almost impossible for Quintana to win the GC if Roglič performs at his standard level in the mountains. Jumbo-Visma’s biggest threat in the GC now is Simon Yates, who on his day can climb extremely well but is inconsistent, so it is hard to predict what Yates will do on the Col de Turini stage if the ~38 minute climb is not removed due to snow and cold weather.
Stage 5 will be the first medium mountain test for climbers. Nairo Quintana needs to gain time and it would not be a surprise if he tomorrow tries something on the Col de la Mure climb (7.7 km, 8.1%), which tops 33 kilometres from the finish. But it will be hard for attackers to gain time because of the mighty Jumbo-Visma train who can pace them back with Kruijswijk, Dennis, Roglič and Van Aert. It is likely that a large breakaway will form, with so many quality all-round riders losing time in previous stages due to the crosswinds and Jumbo-Visma’s dominance. We doubt that Jumbo-Visma care too much about chasing them back, even though the stage does suit Wout van Aert with the flat finish.