Primoz Roglic powered ahead of the peloton to win stage four of Paris-Nice on Wednesday and take the overall lead of the eight-day race, as he skipped clear through the Beaujolais vineyards.
The Jumbo-Visma rider leads the ‘Race to the Sun’ by 35 seconds from last season’s winner Maximilian Schachmann, while Guillaume Martin is third at 37sec.
The new leader immediately paid homage to his team’s performance in the Tirreno-Adriatico first stage in Italy on the same day, also won by Jumbo with Wout van Aert.
“We’re super happy with the two wins,” Roglic said. “Obviously I’m more happy about my result, I proved to myself I was in good shape,” said the 31-year-old. “It’s beautiful and I’m super happy for the team.”
The Slovenian produced a trademark devastating surge to grab a three-second time bonus halfway up the final hill. Then, with his rivals struggling after an unrelentingly testing 188km run from Chalon-Sur-Soane to Chiroubles, Roglic kept going to finish 12 seconds ahead of his closest pursuer.
“It was a hard day but I had good legs. Now the aim of course is to still have the lead when we get to Nice,” added Roglic.
“Roglic was once again imperial, so there was no stopping him. Considering I had a mechanical, I’ll take third place on my first summit finish of the season,” said Guillaume Martin.
Ineos’s hope of an overall win on this race faded when Tao Geoghegan Hart fell with 20km to go and pulled out after struggling to rejoin the peloton.
“It was the right decision to stop him. We won’t take any risks,” Ineos sport director Gabriel Rasch said. “He landed on his face and head and he felt a bit iffy,” Rasch said after Geoghegan Hart slipped on a tight corner, also hurting his knee on the descent of Mont Brouilly.