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Peter Velits (center) rode comfortably in the peloton until the final time up the finish climb. (©BMC/Graham Watson.)
Peter Velits (center) rode comfortably in the peloton until the final time up the finish climb. (©BMC/Graham Watson.)

Paris-Nice, Stage 7: Velits Into Top 10

15. March 2014

BMC Racing Team's Peter Velits finished 10th Saturday at Paris-Nice to move into ninth overall with one day of the race to go.

The Course:
Five categorized climbs in the 195.5-kilometer race from Mougins to Biot Sophia Antipolis preceded an uphill finish after three laps of a circuit.

Plenty Of Action:
On a day when it seemed no team had control of the race, nine riders were in an initial breakaway. When the last of that escape was brought back with 40 km to go, another eight riders broke away. That was followed by an escape of five, then nine again, then two and finally a pair of solo attacks.

A Late Crash:
BMC Racing Team riders Velits and Greg Van Avermaet – both riding in the reduced peloton – managed to avoid a crash in the final five kilometers that took down several riders, including Geraint Thomas (Team Sky), who had been sitting second overall.

The Finish:
Velits put in an attack in the last kilometer, but the move was countered by Tom-Jelte Slagter (Garmin-Sharp) who held off world road champion Rui Costa (Lampre-Merida) to take his second stage win. Race leader Carlos Betancur (AG2R La Mondiale) finished third.

What Velits Said:
"It was one of the harder stages of Paris-Nice. I felt pretty good the whole day. I had the guys around me the whole day, which was perfect. The final, on the circuit, was pretty hard. We did the finish a few times, so I knew exactly what it looked like. I felt good and tried with 300 or 400 meters to go, but Slagter was on my wheel immediately. So I stopped. Then, I got a little bit closed in going around the last roundabout. Tenth place on the stage was the best I could do from that point. I just hope tomorrow, on the last stage, it is going to be the same."

What Sport Director Yvon Ledanois Said:
"It was one good day for the team because our No. 1 objective is the GC (general classification). I have confidence in Peter and the team. I think he has the legs for one more good result. Tomorrow is one big day, one very hard stage. But I have trust in him and the team. There is good team spirit, which is very important for a good result."

See photos from the race on the BMC Racing Team's Flickr gallery.

Listen to complete comments from Ledanois and Velits on the BMC Racing Team Audio Line.