INEOS tried to put pressure on the race leader Primož Roglič with Adam Yates and Daniel Martinez’ attacks on the Col de Turini climb, but the Slovenian was unbeatable, winning the queen stage of Paris-Nice with an impressive acceleration at the end of the hard climb. Roglič set a new Col de Turini record, beating Bernal and Quintana’s time set in 2019 by 42 seconds.
Today’s stage was all about the 15 kilometre long Col de Turini climb. The breakaway did not stand a chance against the peloton, who did not let a big gap grow. Jumbo-Visma paced the first part of the climb with Steven Kruijswijk and Rohan Dennis, who rode at a steady tempo comfortable for Primož Roglič.
It was clear that someone would attack to put pressure on Roglič. The first one to try was Adam Yates, who launched early with 7.2 km to go. Dennis continued to pace for a brief moment, but he was not able to bring back Yates. Roglič attacked with Nairo Quintana and Daniel Martinez, Yates’ teammate, following him. No one was going to help the Slovenian, who closed the gap to Yates by himself with Simon Yates distanced.
Later, Simon Yates joined the group after attacking Haig and Vlasov’s group. INEOS continued to test Roglič with a predictable counter attack from Martinez, their closest rider to Roglic on GC, after Adam Yates was caught.
Roglič followed the Colombian easily and countered his attempt to put pressure on everyone else. Only Martinez was able to follow and was not afraid to pull with Roglič, after Adam Yates dropped from Quintana’s wheel whilst his brother Simon Yates paced.
Nairo Quintana tried not to waste energy and was drafting the whole time behind Simon Yates as he bridged back to Martinez and Roglič. Simon’s legs looked great as he closed the gap alone to the leaders, who worked together. Eventually Simon Yates closed the gap to Roglic with just under 3 kilometres remaining, meaning that Roglic ability to lose significant time was already impossible.
The quartet slowed down to a track stand. No one was willing to pull. 1) Roglič did not need to gain time, 2) Quintana rarely pulls and usually attacks if his legs are good, but against this competition his legs were not good enough and he was struggling, 3) Martinez and S. Yates knew they would not be able to drop Roglič to gain time on GC and wanted the consolation of the stage win.
Perhaps bored by the slow tempo, Roglič spiced things up with an acceleration that did not change anything after Quintana marked him. With 1.5 km to go S. Yates tried again, but Roglič was on his wheel. Quintana was dropped multiple times after accelerations, but came back every time and paced the group.
Perhaps knowing he could not win the stage or drop the top GC guys, he and Arkea were concerned by the possibility of Haig and Vlasov returning, and wanted to move up in the GC as much as possible to gain more points, which Arkea-Samsic badly needs. Due to the cat and mouse games and slow tempo Joao Almeida was also approaching the group, with the best legs he has shown all week.
Roglič ended everything with his patented attack with 200 metres to go. At this moment, only Pogačar could challenge Roglič’s nuclear acceleration in the finale of mountain stages. It was the first win in 2022 for the Slovenian, who extended his lead in the GC.
The UAE-Emirates duo Almeida and McNulty finished 5th and 6th on the queen stage, but due to the lost time on previous stages they are not high in the GC (Almeida 10th, McNulty 18th). One of the big winners was Quintana, who jumped from 9th to 5th place in the GC. Vlasov once again lost considerable time on an extended climb, a consistent problem for him
Paris-Nice will end with a medium mountain stage with a false-flat downhill to Nice. Roglič is the leader of the race with a 47-second lead over Simon Yates. It must be a day for a breakaway as Jumbo-Visma does not need to pace. It is better to allow breakaway riders to take all bonus seconds and save Jumbo-Visma teammates energy if some team like INEOS or Bahrain attempts to challenge Roglič, who crashed in last year’s Paris-Nice on the final stage and lost the leader’s jersey to Schachmann.
Roglič broke the Col de Turini climbing record, which was previously owned by Egan Bernal and Nairo Quintana. The Colombians set it in 2019 Paris-Nice, riding the big climb in 40 minutes and 40 seconds. Roglič’s time on stage 7 was 39 minutes and 58 seconds. That means Quintana rode the climb today in 40 minutes and 7 seconds, which is 33 seconds faster than his time three years ago which was good enough to be first in the GC group.
Roglič pushed 6.05 w/kg for 39:58, which compared to his 2021 climbing efforts, is around his peak level. He could have produced more power if there had not been a stale-mate in the last kilometres with a stop-start tempo all the way from 2.5km to go to the finish after Simon Yates brought Quintana back to Roglic.
Compared to other 2022 efforts, Col de Turini is the best from longer mountains. Despite finishing 4th today 9 seconds behind Roglic, Quintana was at his February level form, where he won on Montagne de Lure against a weaker climbers field and produced an impressive short effort on Col d’Eze.