David De La Cruz (Team Sky) takes the win on Stage 8 of Paris Nice 2018, whilst Marc Soler (Movistar Team) wins the general classification. De La Cruz put in a strong performance in a final three way sprint, coming from behind to snatch victory from Omar Fraile. Marc Soler (Movistar Team) who had also been part of the breakaway for most of the day held on for third, taking with it four bonus seconds and enough to overhaul Simon Yates in the General classification.
The rain continued to fall on Sunday’s final stage of Paris-Nice 2018, leading to treacherous conditions for riders. Despite the poor weather, stage eight got off to a quick start as riders tried to establish an early break. Rather than a breakaway forming, the peloton eventually split with around 25 riders getting away, including the key GC contenders.
Attacks continued relentlessly from this point, especially from Astana who were keen to get a rider into a breakaway following Luis Leon Sanchez’s disappointing ride on stage seven, which saw him fall out of contention for the overall standings. At around 45km to go a breakaway established containing Omar Fraile (Astana), Jakob Fuglsang (Astana), Julian Alaphilippe (Quickstep floors) and Timo Wellens (Lotto soudal) with around a minute lead on the Simon Yates GC group. At this point David De La Cruz (Team Sky) and Marc Soler (Movistar) were able to bridge that gap to Fraile, whilst the rest of the breakaway was dropped. Mitchelton scott moved to the front of the Yates group in reaction to Soler joining the breakaway, as he became a threat and eventual yellow jersey on the road. However, by this point Mitchelton scott were a spent force losing and gaining riders on ascents and descents without being able to do much work in controlling the breakaway.
As the GC group entered the bottom of the final climb, the breakaway had a lead of 51 seconds and Simon Yates sat at the front doing most of the work. It was at this point that disaster struck for the young Lancastrian as Ion Izagirre (Bahrain -Merida) attacked off the front of the group. Whilst Yates managed to control the gap for a short time he eventually began to fall back, before Gorka Izagirre (Bahrain – Merida), Tim Wellens (Lotto – soudal) and Dyland Theuns (BMC) bridged the gap to the Ion Izagirre.
Meanwhile at the head of the race David De La Cruz had attacked dropping Soler and Fraile, but was caught again by Fraile with 9km to go and by Soler at the bottom of the descent, holding 40 seconds over Yates on the run into Nice. Yates held a five second gap between himself and the Izagirre group as he entered the descent working tirelessly to reel them in and hold onto the yellow jersey. At this point the Izagirre brothers crashed dramatically on the slippery descent, slowing down the chasers and allowing Yates to catch up.
By this point the Soler group was in touching distance of stage victory and Soler, aware of his chances on winning the GC, was motivated to set the pace of the group whilst allowing De La Cruz and Fraile fight it out for the stage in a final sprint. As a tired Soler lumbered off the front job done, Fraile attacked early, but De La Cruz stuck to his wheel pulling out, and rounding him in the final metres to beat him decisively at the end.
Some way behind the Yates group team time trialled tirelessly to the stage finish but it was not enough, Yates grimacing on the line as he was beaten by four seconds in an exciting but dramatic finish to this years Paris-Nice.
Results Stage 8 Paris-Nice 2018
1 David De La Cruz (Team Sky)
2 Omar Fraile (Astana Pro Team) –”
3 Marc Soler (Movistar Team)+0’03
4 Patrick Konrad (BORA – Hansgrohe) +0’38
5 Tim Wellens (Lotto Soudal) –”
6 Simon Yates (Mitchelton – Scott) –”
7 Dylan Teuns (BMC Racing team) –”
8 Richard Carapaz (Movistar Team) –”
9 Gorka Izagirre (Bahrain Merida Pro Cycling Team) –”
10 Ion Izagirre (Bahrain Merida Pro Cycling Team) –”
General Classification after Stage 8
1 Marc Soler (Movistar Team)
2 Simon Yates (Mitchelton-Scott) + 0’04
3 Gorka Izagirre (Bahrain Merida Pro Cycling Team) + 0’14
4 Ion Izagirre (Bahrain Merida Pro Cycling Team) + 0’16
5 Tim Wellens (Lotto Soudal) –”
6 Dylan Teuns (BMC Racing team) + 0’32
7 Patrick Konrad (BORA – hansgrohe) + 0’44
8 Alexis Vuillermoz (AG2R La Mondiale) + 1’54
9 David De La Cruz (Team Sky) + 2’15
10 Felix Grossschartner (BORA – Hansgrohe) + 2’35