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The peloton endured rain showers throughout Wednesday's stage. (©BMC/Tim De Waele.)
The peloton endured rain showers throughout Wednesday's stage. (©BMC/Tim De Waele.)

Paris-Nice, Stage 3: Two In The Chase

6. March 2013

BMC Racing Team's Tejay van Garderen and Philippe Gilbert helped drive the pursuit of seven riders who escaped on a rain-slickened descent near the finish Wednesday at Paris-Nice. Despite a furious chase over the final 11 kilometers, the escapees were not brought back, both BMC Racing Team riders moved into the top 15 overall.

Dangerous Descent
Gilbert and van Garderen were among 24 riders who finished seven seconds after stage winner Andrew Talansky (Garmin-Sharp) and six others who gained a small gap over the climb of the Côte de Mauvagnat and held it to the end of the 170.5 km race. "Sylvain Chavanel (Omega Pharma-Quick Step) let the gap open up and since it was wet and narrow, nobody could really come around," van Garderen said. "On the flats, we were trying to pull it back, but we just couldn't get organized. Some people were too tired to pull through. We were going, but just couldn't close the gap." Van Garderen, who climbed into second in the best young rider competition, will wear the white jersey for Thursday's stage as Talansky – the leader in that classification – assumed the overall lead. Gilbert is 11th overall, 13 seconds back, while van Garderen sits in 15th, at 16 seconds.

Another Big Stage Thursday
Gilbert said he was already at his limit to make the selection up the final, 2.7 km climb with an average gradient of 6.7 percent. "I gave everything to get to the top with the best group and then I saw the gap and started to move up, but it was hard with all the corners," the world road champion said. "Right after the descent I tried to recover a bit and then tried to pull, but it was not easy." BMC Racing Team Directeur Sportif John Lelangue said Thursday's stage – 199.5 km with seven categorized climbs – is also a pivotal one. "It will be humid and wet and it starts directly with two climbs so it won't be easy," he said. "It will be difficult to control – because it's on little roads – so I think it will be an even harder tomorrow than it was today."