Marc Soler (Movistar Team) took the overall honours at Paris-Nice today after a daring attack on the final stage and the result marked the first WorldTour win for the 24 year-old.
Today’s hilly stage started and finished in Nice and despite being just 111 kilometres in length included six climbs. Going into the stage, Adam Yates (Mitchelton-Scott) held the yellow jersey but there were seven other riders within one minute of the Briton, including Soler who was in 6th at 37″.
On a tough day with heavy rain, Soler launched an attack with 45 kilometres remaining in company of fellow Spaniards David de la Cruz (Team Sky) and Omar Fraile (Astana). The break maintained a lead between 30 seconds and one minute over the group of favourites and the race would go down to the wire.
Soler put in a strong effort over the closing kilometres to maintain as big a lead as possible and at the finish in Nice, De la Cruz took the win ahead of Fraile with Soler 3″ down.
The trio had done enough, and with Yates’ group finishing 38″ behind, Soler took over the final yellow jersey from Yates by just four seconds with Gorka Izagirre (Team Bahrain Merida) rounding out the podium.
Marc Soler: “I can’t believe it yet. All my team-mates worked hard for me all week, and happily we were able to finish this off for them in such a great way. I wasn’t expecting to take this one, especially after the time I lost on Saturday’s finish. However, we reset our minds, planned a good strategy with our team-mates and sports directors, choosing to launch a long-range attack. We thought there would be a big breakaway like in last year’s final stage, but it didn’t happen. Fraile was already ahead and I jumped into the third-to-last climb – the point where I had planned to move – to leave the bunch behind. De la Cruz and Ion joined me there, we David and myself opened a gap – and it was just full-gas until the finish.
“I hadn’t won a WorldTour event before, and it’s a big dream come true for me. Joining such big names on the palmarès of this prestigious race is amazing. Now we must go step by step – it’s not like you must change things after such a win, you must remain calm and keep things coming to you. The most important thing now is to keep on progressing and doing things right. I feel a little bit stronger with every year passing. I’ve got used to the pace of pro cycling and I just think about working hard to continue improving. My next race will be the home one for me, the Volta a Catalunya, where I’ll be supporting Alejandro and Nairo.”