Young Spaniard Marc Soler on Sunday snatched victory at Paris-Nice from Briton Simon Yates with a daring breakaway on a soaked final stage.
Soler had started the day 37 seconds behind Yates in sixth overall, but took bonus seconds in an intermediate sprint and as he rolled over the finish line three seconds behind De la Cruz and Fraile. Their advantage was never that great, but it proved to be enough for Soler to claim his first WorldTour win, while De La Cruz claimed the final stage win for the second year running.More news: What's Behind Neptune Tech (NEPT)'s -0.68% Movement
The 24-year-old Soler moved to the front of the race with more than 40 kilometers left on the first category Cote de Peille - one of the six climbs making up the 110-kilometer stage - with fellow Spaniards David De La Cruz and Omar Fraile.
"It was a decision we planned in the morning with my team directors and my team-mates". Soler collected bonus seconds in the second intermediate sprint at La Turbie before Fraile unsuccessfully tried to go solo in the descent of Col d'Eze.More news: Federer rolls into Indian Wells fourth round
"It was a really aggressive race as we expected. De la Cruz and Ion joined me there, we David and myself opened a gap - and it was just full-gas until the finish". He's a very good rider and we've known him for a long time already.
Although his 11th place in the time trial may not have been against the strongest field, it did at least show that he has made some improvements in this generally weak area of his riding, but it was of course the stage win on stage seven which really stood out.More news: Fieldpoint Private Securities LLC Acquires New Holdings in Intel Co
You have to go back to 1976 for the last time four different French riders picked up four stage wins at Paris-Nice (and that was back in the days where the race consisted of 10 stages) so the home crowd will have been delighted with the week's results. Hopefully I can improve and work hard and I take the top spot.