The 81st edition of Paris-Nice ended on Sunday with the familiar finale of the Col d’Èze preceding a run along the Côte d’Azur to the Promenade des Anglais.
It was a strong day for Bahrain, which saw Gino Mäder’s 5th place on GC protected, and Wout Poels take the prize for the most aggressive rider on the stage.
Sports Director Michal Golas reflects on a satisfactory week in France.
“Today we rode well. we tried to be aggressive but we couldn’t do much against such a strong Tadej Pogačar & his team, who controlled the race.”
Along with Mäder, Jack Haig also finished in the top 10, continuing his return from injury. In addition, there were some encouraging signs from the rest of the team, in a week which saw rain, wind, snow and sun, and temperatures ranging from below zero to 31º!
We need to be satisfied with Gino’s 5th place, which we defended well,” continues Golas.
“It wasn’t easy to hunt for stages, but given how the race was dominated, we should be happy. Kamil Gradek came back after illness well, Filip Maciejuk did a good job, and Fred Wright learnt a lot this week.”
With the French and Italian stage races both ending on their respective coasts, attention now turns to the first monument of the year, Milan-Sanremo, on Saturday. Golas believes things are looking good for the rest of the season.
“We are in good shape. There were not too many chances to play it differently tactics-wise here, and some of our guys had good weeks when we think about the upcoming races.
What we’ve done this week has helped us take some steps towards our objectives for the classics campaign.”
From France to Italy, where also Tirreno-Adriatico ended today, after 7 stages, with Phil Bauhaus sprinting to 4th place. The German sprinter was one of our best-placed riders throughout the week, finishing three times in the top ten in the three sprint stages.
Bahrain Victorious was aiming for the final podium with captain Mikel Landa, who could jump onto it for three consecutive years. The Spaniard put on some strong effort on the queen stage in Sassotetto, taking 7th place and the day after on the Walls stage in Osimo, where he was 5th. On the key day when the ascent could make the difference in the GC gap, Landa found in the wind probably his worst rival of the race.
In the fight for the General Classification, Landa finished in 7th place at 56” from the winner Primoz Roglic (Jumbo-Visma).
“Unfortunately, we didn’t have a fantastic outcome as it happened last year, but the team was a protagonist anyway. Although we didn’t get the final podium or a stage victory,” Sports Director Alberto Volpi comments about this edition of Tirreno-Adriatico, “We did our best. The windy conditions created some troubles for our captain on the mountain stage of the race. Anyway, he arrived in the front group alongside Damiano Caruso, who lighted up the final with a late attack and Santiago Buitrago. The same on the day after, on the Walls stage, with the team racing in a perfect way to favour the captain who could make the difference in the finale: Nikias Arndt had a strong ride and was in the breakaway, Buitrago attacked from the peloton to join him in the front group. Then in the final lap of the circuit, Mikel tried to surprise all his rivals, and in the end, he managed to take a top-five place. Speaking about Phil Bauhaus, although he didn’t win, I believe his performance was excellent, showing to be always in the mix to contest the sprint finishes, taking 6th, 2nd and 4th place. All in all, our team did a good job this week. What just missed was a better reward in terms of results; that’s what we regret the more.”
Promising signs at both Tirreno-Adriatico and Paris-Nice, as a busy race calendar continues.
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