Julian Alaphilippe wins Paris-Nice stage four time trial ahead of Alberto Contador to move into yellow

Quick-Step Floors rider produces superb ride in 14.5km time trial

Julian Alaphilippe (Quick-Step Floors) produced one of the best rides of his career so far to win the individual time trial on stage four of Paris-Nice, taking the overall race lead in the process.

The young Frenchman delighted the home crowd on the slopes of the finishing climb of Mont Brouilly, setting the fastest time at the intermediate time check at the base of the climb, and extending his lead all the way to the line.

Alaphilippe bettered the time of Alberto Contador (Trek-Segafredo) by 19 seconds when it had looked like the Spaniard would take his first stage win in Paris-Nice since 2010.

Contador had taken the lead after toppling long-standing leader David De La Cruz, and had only suffered a couple of scares when both Gorka Izagirre (Movistar) and Tony Gallopin (Lotto-Soudal) came within a second of his time.

However Alaphilippe’s ride provided no such tension, with his victory already looking assured with a few hundred metres to go as he beat Contador’s time by a significant margin.

The performance also meant that Alaphilippe moved into the overall lead as erstwhile race leader Arnaud Démare (FDJ) finished in 47th place, with Gallopin moving into second, and Izagirre into third.

Contador’s performance saw him move into eighth place, still more than a minute and a half down on Alaphilippe after losing time on the opening stage.

How it happened

Stage four of Paris-Nice 2017 saw the riders tackle a mostly flat 14.5km time trial, but with a nasty sting in the tail courtesy of the 3km ascent of Mont Brouilly.

The early pace was set by Nikis Arndt (Team Sunweb) with a time of 22-50, but that mark was blown out of the water by the 22-26 of David De La Cruz.

Two very different Australian riders came closest to matching De La Cruz’s time, but both Michael Matthews (Team Sunweb) and Richie Porte (BMC Racing) fell a few seconds short, despite Matthews setting the fastest time at the intermediate time check at the base of the final climb, and Porte making up nearly 30 seconds on the final ascent.

The next threat to De La Cruz’s time seemed to come from Alberto Contador who, riding a Trek Madone road bike with full aero bars and disc wheel, set the third fastest climb at the base of the climb, 11 seconds faster than De La Cruz.

Taking an advantage onto the final climb and it was going to be difficult to bet against Contador beating De La Cruz, and he duly delivered, setting a staggering time of 21-58, 26 seconds faster than De La Cruz.

As for some of the other overall contenders, Ilnur Zakarin (Katusha-Alpecin) conceded 14 seconds to Contador, Sergio Henao (Team Sky) 28 seconds, Ion Izagirre (Movistar) 30 seconds, and Adam Yates (Orica-Scott) 45 seconds.

Gorka Izagirre was the closest to Contador, falling short by just a solitary second, before Tony Gallopin went even closer, finishing just 0.67 seconds slower.

The final threat for the stage win seemed to come from Julian Alaphilippe who set the fastest time of the day at the the intermediate split at the base of the climb.

Spittle dripping from his chin, Alaphilippe was clearly putting in maximum effort, and as he came into the final few hundred metres it becamse clear that the Frenchman would not only take race lead, but also win the stage, bettering Contador’s time by a massive 19 seconds.

After Alaphilippe there were only two riders to cross the line, and with both Alexander Kristoff (Katusha-Alpecin) and race leader Arnaud Démare unable to come close to challenging, the stage and race lead would go to Alaphilippe.

Paris-Nice continues on Thursday with a flat stage to Bourg-de-Péage, before concluding with three hilly stages on Friday, Saturday, and Sunday.


Paris-Nice 2017, stage four: Beaujeu to Mont Brouilly (14.5km ITT)

1. Julian Alaphilippe (Fra) Quick-Step Floors, in 21-39
2. Alberto Contador (Esp) Trek-Segafredo, at 19 secs
3. Tony Gallopin (Fra) Lotto-Soudal, at 20 secs
4. Gorka Izagirre (Spa) Movistar, at 20 secs
5. Ilnur Zakarin (Rus) Katusha-Alpecin, at 33 secs
6. David De La Cruz (Spa) Quick-Step Floors, at 45 secs
7. Michael Matthews (Aus) Team Sunweb, at 47 secs
8. Sergio Henao (Col) Team Sky, at 48 secs
9. Ion Izaguirre (Esp) Bahrain-Merida, at 49 secs
10. Richie Porte (Aus) BMC Racing, at 50 secs

General classification after stage four

1. Julian Alaphilippe (Fra) Quick-Step Floors, in 12-36-27
2. Tony Gallopin (Fra) Lotto-Soudal, at 33 secs
3. Gorka Izagirre (Esp) Movistar, at 47 secs
4. Sergio Henao (Col) Team Sky, at 1-05
5. Daniel Martin (Irl) Quick-Step Floors, at 1-20
6. Philippe Gilbert (Bel) Quick-Step Floors, at 1-24
7. Ilnur Zakarin (Rus) Katusha-Alpecin, at 1-28
8. Alberto Contador (Spa) Trek-Segafredo, at 1-31
9. Rudy Molard (Fra) FDJ, at 1-32
10. Arnaud Démare (Fra) FDJ, at 1-35

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Wheel deals: up to 50% off the ultimate upgrade wheelsets

We’ve collated the best wheel deals on the internet from the likes of: Easton, Shimano, Campagnolo, Fulcrum and more…

It’s come to that time of year where you should start thinking about cleaning and re-greasing those trusty bomb proof winter wheels ready to stick back into the garage, whilst you look to splurge on something a little lighter, faster and just outright sexy to liven up your ride.

>>> Road wheels buyer’s guide: everything you need to know

You’ll have the choice of race dedicated carbon tubular, clincher or tubeless ready wheels with alloy options too –  companies are even offering wheel, tyre and tube bundles too. Whatever takes your fancy there will be a bargain to be had.

>>> Spring clothing cycling deals

Keep an eye out on all our pages for the best cycling deals heading into the spring and summer months.

Our pick of the best wheel deals

Mavic Cosmic CXR 60 T wheelset £1750 £1099.99

Built to make your bike as slippery as possible, the Mavic Cosmic CXR is the real deal in terms of aerodynamics.

Extensive wind tunnel testing has helped hone it’s wind-beating capabilities, plus its stiffness should make it fast rolling to boot.

Buy now: Mavic Cosmic CXR from Evans Cycles for £1,099

Shimano RS81 C24 carbon tubeless wheels £646.99 £379.99

These could be the perfect carbon wheel upgrade option for your summer ride – and they’re now discounted by 41%.

It’s compatible with everything from eight to 11 speed hubs, so they’re good to go right away.

Buy now: Shimano RS81 carbon tubeless wheels from Evans Cycles for £379.99

Shimano Ultegra 6800 wheelset tyre and tube bundle £464 £381.97

This wheel tyre bundle deal works out at £299.95 if you select the Shimano Ultegra 6800 wheelset with Continental Gatorskin tyres and Continental Race tubes. Other options are available which will change the price.

>>> Buy now at Chain Reaction Cycles for £381.97

Easton EC90 Aero 55 Tubular £1899 £892.99

Supposedly, riding these wheels in a 40km time trial saves 14 seconds over the next fastest wheel. That’s quite some claim.

Either way, over 50% off high end wheels is really not something to be sniffed at.

>>> Buy now from Chain Reaction Cycles for £939.99

Shimano RS11 clincher wheelset £159.99 £100.69


The RS11 wheelset is the workforce of the Shimano wheel line, bringing rugged reliability as well as an aero edge to your riding.

These are a great set of upgrade wheels for those on a budget, especially considering they’re now £50 off.

>>> Buy Shimano Rs11 clincher wheelset now from Ribble for £100.69

Mavic Ksyrium Pro disc wheelset £794.99 £640.99

Mavic has fallen back on their mountain bike expertise to create a great disc brake wheel upgrade for us roadies.

>>> Buy Mavic Ksyrium Pro disc from Chain Reaction Cycles for £640.99

Zipp 404 Firecrest rear wheel £1,138 £729.99


The Firecrest is a pretty versatile wheel, having taken victories in the mountains, time trials and the like.

Sadly, it’s only the rear wheel available here, but happily, it does have a pretty fine discount on it.

>>> Buy Zipp 404 Firecrest rear wheel from Evans Cycles for £729.99

Zipp Super 9 clincher disc wheel £1987 £1499


>>> Buy Zipp Super 9 clincher disc wheel from Tweeks for £1499

Read more: Zipp Super 9 Clincher disc wheel review

It’s fast, laterally stiff but also amazingly comfortable, too.

Opt for a Shimano or SRAM freehub option with white decals and this speed machine could be yours in 10 days. There’s a Campagnolo option, but it’ll take a bit longer to get to you.

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Live power, speed and other data for riders in Tirreno-Adriatico

Tirreno-Adriatico is the first race in a two year deal covering data transmission for Italian events

Selected riders in races run by RCS Sports will be wired up to Velon’s rider tracking system. This transmits live rider data including position, speed, power, heart rate, cadence and acceleration.

Live stats will be available on Velon’s website and accessible to broadcasters to add to their transmissions. Eleven riders are wired up for the start of Stage One of Tirreno-Adritico include Vincenzo Nibali, Tom Dumoulin and Michal Kwiatkowski, who this week also posted his Strava stats for his winning ride in Saturday’s Strade Bianche.

Steve Cummings wins Stage Four of 2016 Tirreno-Adriatico (Photo Watson)

Riders’ race data is interesting; at the launch of its 2inPower power meter, Rotor shared power data from Steve Cummings’s winning ride on Stage Four of last year’s Tirreno-Adriatico, This showed that for around 20% of the race Cummings was not pedalling, with his four main efforts saved for the finish, following attacks and jumping away to win solo.

And in 2015 Team Sky released Chris Froome’s data from the final climb in Stage 10 of the Tour de France. This showed that his average heart rate on the 41 minute climb was 158bmp and maxed out at just 174bpm.

Watch: Tirreno-Adriatico race guide

Graham Bartlett, CEO of Velon, says: “This is a landmark partnership for Velon and we look forward to bringing this exciting technology to the great Italian races. The agreement with RCS Sport will bring extended coverage of data and further raise the profile of riders and teams involved.”

As well as Tirreno-Adritico, RCS Sport runs many key Italian races including Milan-San Remo in March, the Giro d’Italia, with its 100th edition coming up in May and Il Lombardia in Octobe

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Best cycling bib shorts: a buyer’s guide (video)

For any cyclist, bib shorts are an essential piece of kit and arguably the most important to get right. We pick out the best and tell you what you need to look for

As cycling grows in popularity, so does the range of brands and kit available to anyone from beginner to pro. Cycling bib shorts come in a huge range of options for cyclists of all shapes and sizes.

Choosing the right pair of bib shorts can be difficult, especially as you can’t really try before you buy – for obvious reasons. However, finding the best pair is essential for comfort and to keep you riding.

Bib shorts are the most important part of any cyclist’s wardrobe, and the discomfort of getting the wrong pair can end a ride and put you off getting back in the saddle for quite some time.

>>> Endura launch new custom bib short PadFit system

Below we have detailed what to look for when buying bib shorts, and also offered some options for where to start when buying. Remember though, everyone’s different so use this as a guide to help you find the best pair for you and get you riding in comfort in no time.

When it came to testing these bib shorts, we took the business very seriously. The good news is that none of those tested was considered a duff pair of shorts. Some are always better than others, but it’s good to report that, from the brands on test, without spending a fortune, it’s possible to buy an extremely comfortable and stylish pair of bibshorts that will last you many seasons of riding.

Our pick of the best cycling bib shorts

B’twin Aerofit bib shorts – 9/10

B'twin Aerofit bib shorts

B’twins cycling bib shorts offer comfort and performance above their price point

Read more: B’twin Aerofit bib-shorts review

These shorts offer performance that punches well above their price point.

The fit was good and their was never any chafing on the legs or undercarriage area. You’d have little to lose investing in a pair of these.

Buy now: B’twin Aerofit bib-shorts from Decathalon for £55.99

Fizik Link R1 Snake shorts – 9/10

Fizik Link R1 Snake

Fizik has three different categories of short depending on how flexible you are

Read more: Fizik Link R1 Snake shorts review

For a first attempt, Fizik has really hit the nail on the head with the Link R1 shorts.

These are seriously technical shorts, and they come in three options depending on how flexible you are.

dhb ASV Roubaix bib short – 9/10

A fleecy lining means that dhb’s Roubaix bib shorts are good for those chilly UK morning

Read more: dhb ASV Roubaix bib short review

The version of the Roubaix bib short we tested came with a fleece lining, although you can opt for a lightweight option if you’d prefer.

However, they were warm which was good for chilly mornings and, well, year round riding in the UK!

Buy now: dhb ASV Roubaix bib short from Wiggle for £70

Castelli Endurance X2 bib short – 9/10


The Castelli Endurance X2 is possibly one of the most comfortable bib shorts we’ve tested

Read more: Castelli Endurance X2 bib short review

Comfortable and supportive is how we found Castelli’s £100 bib shorts. They use the same Progretto X2 Air seatpad as found on their Mondiale bib shorts and Inferno bib-shorts.

Buy now: Castelli Endurance X2 bib short from Evans Cycles for £109.99

Specialized SL Pro bib shorts – 9/10

specialized sl pro bib shorts

Spesh’s SL Pro bib shorts sit snug and comfortable

Read more: Specialized SL Pro bib shorts review

The comfort and support of the SL Pro bib short material is excellent, as is the pad.

It managed to keep things comfortable despite riding a hard, racing saddle for long hours at a time.

Buy now: Specialized SL Pro bib shorts from Leisure Lakes for £99.99

Sportful Super Total Comfort bib shorts – 9/10

sportful super total comfort bib shorts

Does exactly what it says on the tin

Read more: Sportful Super Total Comfort bib shorts review

With a name like that you’d be right to expect a lot from these bib shorts.

Thankfully, they come through and are super comfortable. There’s no chafing or rubbing and they’re supportive enough for multiple days in the saddle.

Buy now: Sportful Super Total Comfort bib shorts from Wiggle for £150

Altura Women’s ProGel Peloton bib shorts – 8/10

Altura Women's Peloton ProGel bib shorts

The pad’s fit on the the Peloton ProGel bib short will be a thing of personal preference

Read more: Altura Women’s ProGel Peloton bib shorts review

The ProGel Peloton bib shorts have a very wide chamois so they won’t be for everyone, but chamois fit is a very personal thing.

Other than that, these are a comfortable fit with no belly pinching or chafing.

Buy now: Altura Women’s ProGel bib short from CycleStore for £44.99

dhb Classic bib short – 9/10

dhb Classic bib short

The dhb’s Classic bib shorts are simple, good performers

Read more: dhb Classic bib short review

The dhb Classic bib short are simple, but they get the job done well.

They’re comfortable, even on long rides and there’s plenty of ventilation to the pad to keep things cool.

Buy now: dhb Classic bib short from Wiggle for £45.00

To find even more bib-short reviews click here

Check back throughout the year as we test different shorts for different temperatures and conditions.

If you think we’ve missed any, let us know in the comments below and we’ll aim to expand the list of test products.

Cycling bib shorts: What to look for

Cycling bib shorts: Materials 

The choice of materials for designers is huge, from thicker leg material for chilly spring conditions to well-ventilated back panels for summer heat. Some make the best choices, while others leave you questioning what was going through their heads. The best idea is to get hands-on. If the shorts feel nice in your hand, they’re at least halfway to feeling good once you get them on.

bibshorts fit

A high back will help with a better fit

Cycling bib shorts: Fit

For the men, you need to ensure the shoulder straps are comfortable. Some come up short, feeling a little restrictive, even for me, a tester of average height. For the girls, the differences in waist design had a big effect on comfort and performance. Always try on shorts, and adopt a riding position to get a clear idea of how they’d really feel.


Cycling bib-shorts: Chamois

The other details are important to consider, but the chamois is the absolute key bib short component. Get it right and your shorts will offer years of comfortable miles. Get it wrong and the pad can become uncomfortable. Many brands buy in their chamois from an external company, such as Cytech, and can often use the same pad as a competitor.

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Paris-Nice 2017 stage four time trial start times

The start times of every rider on Paris-Nice 2017 stage four

Stage four of Paris-Nice is a 14.5km time trial from Beaujeu to Mont Brouilly, featuring a mostly flat parcours before a nasty finishing climb that is much harder than it looks on paper.

The first rider off the start ramp is Andrea Guardini (UAE Team Emirates) at 13:25, with race leader Arnaud Démare (FDJ) setting off nearly three hours later at 16:10.

>>> Watch: Paris-Nice 2017 stage three highlights

Démare currently has a six second advantage over compatriot Julian Alaphilippe (Quick-Step Floors), meaning that he will have to put in quite a ride to hold on to the yellow jersey.

Other threats could come from the likes of Tony Gallopin (Lotto-Soudal), who is just 19 seconds back, while time trial world champion Tony Martin (Katusha-Alpecin) will among those hunting for the stage win.

Key rider start times

(All times CET – subtract one hour for GMT)

Daniel Mclay (GBr) Fortuneo – Vital Concept 13:34:00
Tony Martin (Ger) Katusha-Alpecin 15:15:00
Nicolas Roche (Irl) BMC Racing 15:19:00
Ben Swift (GBr) Team UAE Emirates 15:27:00
Richie Porte (Aus) BMC Racing 15:36:00
Luke Rowe (GBr) Team Sky 15:44:00
Steven Kruijswijk (Ned) Team LottoNl-Jumbo 15:46:00
Alberto Contador (Esp) Trek-Segafredo 15:50:00
Simon Yates (GBr) Orica-Scott 15:51:00
Warren Barguil (Fra) Team Sunweb 15:54:00
Ilnur Zakarin (Rus) Katusha-Alpecin 15:57:00
Daniel Martin (Irl) Quick-Step Floors 16:02:00
Sergio Henao (Col) Team Sky 16:04:00
Tony Gallopin (Fra) Lotto Soudal 16:06:00
Julian Alaphilippe (Fra) Quick-Step Floors 16:09:00
Arnaud Démare (Fra) FDJ 16:10:00

Paris-Nice 2017 stage four time trial start times

(All times CET – subtract one hour for GMT)

Andrea Guardini (Ita) Team UAE Emirates 13:25:00
Joseph Dombrowski (USA) Cannondale-Drapac 13:26:00
Pierre Rolland (Fra) Cannondale-Drapac 13:27:00
Ruslan Tleubayev (Kaz) Astana Pro Team 13:28:00
Nicolas Edet (Fra) Cofidis 13:29:00
Federico Zurlo (Ita) Team UAE Emirates 13:30:00
Michael Woods (Can) Cannondale-Drapac 13:31:00
Natnael Berhane (Eri) Dimension Data 13:32:00
Nikias Arndt (Ger) Team Sunweb 13:33:00
Daniel Mclay (GBr) Fortuneo – Vital Concept 13:34:00
Jesus Herrada (Esp) Movistar 13:35:00
José Mendes (Por) Bora-Hansgrohe 13:36:00
Omar Fraile (Esp) Dimension Data 13:37:00
Angelo Tulik (Fra) Direct Energie 13:38:00
Tom-Jelte Slagter (Ned) Cannondale-Drapac 13:39:00
Enrico Gasparotto (Ita) Bahrain-Merida 13:40:00
Alessandro De Marchi (Ita) BMC Racing 13:41:00
Lilian Calmejane (Fra) Direct Energie 13:42:00
Sebastian Henao (Col) Team Sky 13:43:00
Winner Anacona (Col) Movistar 13:44:00
Victor De La Parte (Esp) Movistar 13:45:00
Youcef Reguigui (Alg) Dimension Data 13:46:00
Diego Ulissi (Ita) Team UAE Emirates 13:47:00
Jan Polanc (Slo) Team UAE Emirates 13:48:00
Pierre Roger Latour (Fra) Ag2r La Mondiale 13:49:00
Erik Baska (Svk) Bora-Hansgrohe 13:50:00
Tyler Farrar (USA) Dimension Data 13:51:00
Dimitri Claeys (Bel) Cofidis 13:52:00
Davide Villella (Ita) Cannondale-Drapac 13:53:00
Serge Pauwels (Bel) Dimension Data 13:54:00
Amaël Moinard (Fra) BMC Racing 13:55:00
Tsgabu Grmay (Eth) Bahrain-Merida 13:56:00
Simone Petilli (Ita) Team UAE Emirates 13:57:00
Rémy Di Gregorio (Fra) Delko Marseille Provence KTM 13:58:00
Mikael Cherel (Fra) Ag2r La Mondiale 13:59:00
Riccardo Minali (Ita) Astana 14:00:00
Ben King (USA) Dimension Data 14:01:00
Grega Bole (Slo) Bahrain-Merida 14:02:00
Rory Sutherland (Aus) Movistar  14:03:00
Philip Deignan (Irl) Team Sky 14:04:00
David Lopez (Esp) Team Sky 14:05:00
Thomas De Gendt (Bel) Lotto Soudal 14:06:00
Lawson Craddock (USA) Cannondale-Drapac 14:07:00
Gregory Rast (Sui) Trek-Segafredo 14:08:00
Laurens De Vreese (Bel) Astana 14:09:00
Simon Geschke (Ger) Team Sunweb 14:10:00
Borut Bozic (Slo) Bahrain-Merida 14:11:00
Dylan Teuns (Bel) BMC Racing 14:12:00
Quentin Pacher (Fra) Delko Marseille Provence KTM 14:13:00
Julien El Fares (Fra) Delko Marseille Provence KTM 14:14:00
Romain Combaud (Fra) Delko Marseille Provence KTM 14:15:00
Zico Waeytens (Bel) Team Sunweb 14:16:00
Pierre Luc Perichon (Fra) Fortuneo – Vital Concept 14:17:00
Juraj Sagan (Svk) Bora-Hansgrohe 14:18:00
Christopher Juul Jensen (Den) Orica-Scott 14:19:00
Julien Simon (Fra) Cofidis 14:20:00
Mikel Nieve (Esp) Team Sky 14:21:00
Marc Soler (Esp) Movistar 14:22:00
Manuele Mori (Ita) Team UAE Emirates 14:23:00
Jan Bárta (Cze) Bora-Hansgrohe 14:24:00
Eduardo Sepulveda (Arg) Fortuneo – Vital Concept 14:25:00
Arnaud Gerard (Fra) Fortuneo – Vital Concept 14:26:00
Adrien Petit (Fra) Direct Energie 14:27:00
Cyril Gautier (Fra) Ag2r La Mondiale 14:28:00
Michael Morkov (Den) Katusha-Alpecin 14:29:00
Cyril Lemoine (Fra) Cofidis 14:30:00
Patrick Konrad (Aut) Bora-Hansgrohe 14:31:00
Mickael Delage (Fra) FDJ 14:32:00
Tanel Kangert (Est) Astana 14:33:00
Stijn Vandenbergh (Bel) Ag2r La Mondiale 14:34:00
Laurent Pichon (Fra) Fortuneo – Vital Concept 14:35:00
Michael Valgren Andersen (Den) Astana 14:36:00
Axel Domont (Fra) Ag2r La Mondiale 14:37:00
Antoine Duchesne (Can) Direct Energie 14:38:00
Adam Hansen (Aus) Lotto Soudal 14:39:00
Francisco Ventoso (Esp) BMC Racing 14:40:00
Fabio Sabatini (Ita) Quick-Step Floors 14:41:00
Stef Clement (Ned) Team LottoNl-Jumbo 14:42:00
Kristian Sbaragli (Ita) Dimension Data 14:43:00
Julien Morice (Fra) Direct Energie 14:44:00
Gatis Smukulis (Lat) Delko Marseille Provence KTM 14:45:00
Bryan Coquard (Fra) Direct Energie 14:46:00
Dylan Groenewegen (Ned) Team LottoNl-Jumbo 14:47:00
Danilo Wyss (Sui) BMC Racing 14:48:00
Michal Kolár (Svk) Bora-Hansgrohe 14:49:00
Jarlinson Pantano (Col) Trek-Segafredo 14:50:00
Matti Breschel (Den) Astana 14:51:00
Jens Keukeleire (Bel) Orica-Scott 14:52:00
Evaldas Siskevicius (Ltu) Delko Marseille Provence KTM 14:53:00
Olivier Le Gac (Fra) FDJ 14:54:00
Tosh Van Der Sande (Bel) Lotto Soudal 14:55:00
Maarten Wynants (Bel) Team LottoNl-Jumbo 14:56:00
David De La Cruz (Esp) Quick-Step Floors 14:57:00
Lars Ytting Bak (Den) Lotto Soudal 14:58:00
Jose Herrada (Esp) Movistar 14:59:00
Thomas Leezer (Ned) Team LottoNl-Jumbo 15:00:00
Michael Gogl (Aut) Trek-Segafredo 15:01:00
Mitch Docker (Aus) Orica-Scott 15:02:00
Tom Stamsnijder (Ned) Team Sunweb 15:03:00
Alberto Losada (Esp) Katusha-Alpecin 15:04:00
Alexey Lutsenko (Kaz) Astana 15:05:00
Jakob Fuglsang (Den) Astana 15:06:00
Baptiste Planckaert (Bel) Katusha-Alpecin 15:07:00
Robert Wagner (Ger) Team LottoNl-Jumbo 15:08:00
Mathias Frank (Sui) Ag2r La Mondiale 15:09:00
Geoffrey Soupe (Fra) Cofidis 15:10:00
Marc Sarreau (Fra) FDJ 15:11:00
Delio Fernandez (Esp) Delko Marseille Provence KTM 15:12:00
Michal Golas (Pol) Team Sky 15:13:00
Timo Roosen (Ned) Team LottoNl-Jumbo 15:14:00
Tony Martin (Ger) Katusha-Alpecin 15:15:00
Ignatas Konovalovas (Ltu) FDJ 15:16:00
Simon Gerrans (Aus) Orica-Scott 15:17:00
Edward Theuns (Bel) Trek-Segafredo 15:18:00
Nicolas Roche (Irl) BMC Racing 15:19:00
Arnold Jeannesson (Fra) Fortuneo – Vital Concept 15:20:00
Haimar Zubeldia (Esp) Trek-Segafredo 15:21:00
Luka Pibernik (Slo) Bahrain-Merida 15:22:00
Roy Curvers (Ned) Team Sunweb 15:23:00
Florian Senechal (Fra) Cofidis 15:24:00
Oliver Naesen (Bel) Ag2r La Mondiale 15:25:00
Sam Oomen (Ned) Team Sunweb 15:26:00
Ben Swift (GBr) Team UAE Emirates 15:27:00
Christophe Laporte (Fra) Cofidis 15:28:00
Mauro Finetto (Ita) Delko Marseille Provence KTM 15:29:00
Moreno Hofland (Ned) Lotto Soudal 15:30:00
Michael Matthews (Aus) Team Sunweb 15:31:00
Sonny Colbrelli (Ita) Bahrain-Merida 15:32:00
Jack Bauer (NZl) Quick-Step Floors 15:33:00
Sylvain Chavanel (Fra) Direct Energie 15:34:00
Imanol Erviti (Esp) Movistar 15:35:00
Richie Porte (Aus) BMC Racing 15:36:00
Jacopo Guarnieri (Ita) FDJ 15:37:00
Michael Albasini (Sui) Orica-Scott 15:38:00
Mathew Hayman (Aus) Orica-Scott 15:39:00
John Degenkolb (Ger) Trek-Segafredo 15:40:00
Davide Cimolai (Ita) FDJ 15:41:00
Bram Tankink (Ned) Team LottoNl-Jumbo 15:42:00
Magnus Cort Nielsen (Den) Orica-Scott 15:43:00
Luke Rowe (GBr) Team Sky 15:44:00
Sven Erik Bystrøm (Nor) Katusha-Alpecin 15:45:00
Steven Kruijswijk (Ned) Team LottoNl-Jumbo 15:46:00
Christian Knees (Ger) Team Sky 15:47:00
Sam Bennett (Irl) Bora-Hansgrohe 15:48:00
Marcel Kittel (Ger) Quick-Step Floors 15:49:00
Alberto Contador (Esp) Trek-Segafredo 15:50:00
Simon Yates (GBr) Orica-Scott 15:51:00
Jon Izaguirre (Esp) Bahrain-Merida 15:52:00
Davide Formolo (Ita) Cannondale-Drapac 15:53:00
Warren Barguil (Fra) Team Sunweb 15:54:00
Marco Haller (Aut) Katusha-Alpecin 15:55:00
Jelle Wallays (Bel) Lotto Soudal 15:56:00
Ilnur Zakarin (Rus) Katusha-Alpecin 15:57:00
Yves Lampaert (Bel) Quick-Step Floors 15:58:00
André Greipel (Ger) Lotto Soudal 15:59:00
Gorka Izagirre (Esp) Movistar 16:00:00
Kristijan Koren (Slo) Cannondale-Drapac 16:01:00
Daniel Martin (Irl) Quick-Step Floors 16:02:00
Rudy Molard (Fra) FDJ 16:03:00
Sergio Henao (Col) Team Sky 16:04:00
Romain Hardy (Fra) Fortuneo – Vital Concept 16:05:00
Tony Gallopin (Fra) Lotto Soudal 16:06:00
Philippe Gilbert (Bel) Quick-Step Floors 16:07:00
Alexander Kristoff (Nor) Katusha-Alpecin 16:08:00
Julian Alaphilippe (Fra) Quick-Step Floors 16:09:00
Arnaud Démare (Fra) FDJ 16:10:00

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Are marginal gains for everybody?

Is the concept of ‘marginal gains’ still relevant to amateur cyclists, or has it been unmasked as a fancy term for pointless perfectionism and pro-team secretiveness?

Is your chainring the right shape? Have you touched one too many grubby door handles? Did you lose a critical 40 minutes of sleep last night?

The questions fitness-seeking cyclists ask themselves have changed a lot in the last decade or so.

Whereas riders used to be hung up simply on having the lightest bike, the heartiest serving of pasta and the most training miles in the bank, an altogether more nuanced, complex approach has come to the fore.

>>> Seven best ways to make your bike lighter for free

Nowadays cyclists obsess about marginal gains, striving to finesse every conceivable aspect of body and bike, no matter how small the potential benefit — but is such fine-tuning really worthwhile, or is it just hankering after an illusory ideal?

Of course, tiny changes to position, sleekness and geometry can significantly improve aerodynamics; marginal gains of this type will always be critical in time trialling.

In certain other areas of cycling, too, the rise of the marginal gain has worked wonders, greatly reducing overeating and overtraining while unearthing numerous benefits that no one had previously thought to look for.

On the other hand, it’s led cyclists — and not just the pros — down any number of hilarious blind alleys; pretty much every stripe of road cyclist has spent years inflating their tyres to steel-hard pressures in pursuit of a rolling resistance reduction so fractional it’s practically undetectable.

Watch now: How to set the perfect tyre pressure

Likewise, many have necked food supplements up to and beyond the limits of their digestive systems, with little or no benefit.

Turn back the clock a bit further and you’ll remember cyclists ‘drilling out’ their frames and components in pursuit of a saved gram here or there, a practice that left bikes at best ugly and, at worst, dangerous.

The only real difference between the amateur and professional errors is that most amateurs don’t hang the name ‘marginal gains’ on their experiments and later embark on corporate speaking tours.

There have been many attempted marginal gains, from the left-hand-drive track bikes tried out by Team USA at the Rio Olympics (taking advantage of the lower airflow on the inside of the bike) to the bike with high-pressure tyres that Alberto Contador swapped onto before climbing Mount Etna in the 2011 Giro.

Left hand cranks couldn’t help the USA to gold in the women’s team pursuit (Photo: Watson)

All cyclists are looking for an edge, but “the aggregation of marginal gains” is a buzz-phrase most commonly associated with British Cycling, Team Sky and Sir Dave Brailsford.

Because of Sky’s success, marginal gains have been imbued with a sort of mysticism. But according to sportswriter Matthew Syed, it is just a new term for an age-old practice.

“Marginal gains is just the idea of applying the scientific method to continual improvement,” he says.

>>> Dave Brailsford: ‘I’m uncompromising, and some people can’t cope with that’

Syed, who won a Commonwealth Games gold medal in table tennis, spent months researching marginal gains for his latest book Black Box Thinking.

He believes the success of marginal gains culture has its roots in a change in coaching attitudes.

“There was a lot of conventional wisdom when I was an athlete, and a lot of coaches who thought that, because they’d produced good players, their methods were as good as they could get.

If your ego is bound up with the status quo, then change is a threat.

“My sense from meeting Sir Dave Brailsford is that he’s bound up in ‘What is it that we currently don’t know?’ not ‘What do we already know and how can we proclaim our knowledge?’ The psychology of that is at the heart of the scientific revolution.

“The psychology turns out to be very important, and that’s what marginal gains expresses.”

>>> The hidden motor in your head: How mind training can make you ride faster

It’s a perfectly tidy description, and one that can be very useful.

After all, British Cycling’s chains are cleaned using an ultrasonic cleaner and lubed with a nanotube formula, a marginal gain apparently worth six watts.

But every cyclist has felt the benefit of a clean drivetrain, even if all they’ve done is shake their chain in a bottle of white spirit and flossed their sprockets with old newspaper.

The distinction between general good practice and marginal gain is as much about mindset as outcome.

In truth, many attempted marginal gains don’t actually lead to performance improvement — the ice bath that was so trendy a few years ago, for example, might actually be counter-productive.

The important thing with a marginal gains approach is to explore these possibilities.

“Whenever you attempt a marginal gain that doesn’t work, you improve your understanding of the problem,” says Syed.

“If a cycling race is made up of parameters — the aerodynamics of the bike, the efficiency of the training and so on, and they can all be broken down into smaller elements — when you find something that doesn’t work, that’s very useful information.

“Finding marginal gains that don’t work makes it easier to focus on the ones that do work.

The 2011 road world championship set the standard for marginal gains when Mark Cavendish won wearing an aerodynamic helmet cover and skinsuit.

“The crucial thing is a mindset that’s willing to say ‘Whatever we’re doing, however good, we can get better’… Instead of saying ‘Are you saying I don’t know what I’m doing?’ you say: ‘That’s interesting,’ and start looking for improvement.”

The word psychology comes up almost as often as science when discussing marginal gains, and for good reason.

According to sports psychologist Andrew Barton, a marginal gains culture can have a huge influence on performance even if the changes being experimented with don’t turn out to have any measurable physical outcome:

“From a psychological perspective, each member of a team buys into the vision of marginal gains, and therefore puts immense faith in the people around them.

“Belief plays a huge role in an athlete’s ability to perform to the highest level: their motivation to train, their confidence, their energy levels and their willingness to constantly push themselves.

>>> ‘Cyclists, be cautious with caffeine’

“Although some of the marginal gains may be dubious in terms of real effect, the placebo effect is a very real one.”

Leaving aside the placebo effect for now, it’s important to stress that while a marginal gains culture might value change as a means to progress, that’s not to say that changes shouldn’t be managed.

Change for change’s sake, or simply shaking things up in pursuit of a ‘dead cat bounce’ can introduce as much uncertainty as confidence.

“Learning the various factors that contribute to the marginal gains has to be drip-fed in the same way as learning a new skill.

“If you are given too many new things to take on board too quickly, it creates an overload, and riders become stressed or unfocused, and take their attention away from the more crucial areas of their performance.”

An extra edge

Pursuing fractional advantages makes sense in the professional sphere, where athletes are already trained to the limits of their potential, and need to find an extra competitive edge, but are marginal gains applicable to amateur cyclists?

The club-mate’s knowing smirk at your post-Christmas belly when you’ve just unwrapped your first carbon frame is almost a rite of passage in cycling, an unspoken acknowledgement that those of us who don’t get to ride for a living invariably have more room to make maximal, not merely marginal, gains.

>>> Bike of the year 2017: Canyon Ultimate CF SLX 8.0

But many coaches think a marginal gains approach is perfectly valid in amateur cyclists too.

Marginal gains can make any cyclist faster

Amid the headlines about teams being taught how to wash their hands by surgeons to minimise illness, or sleeping in motorhomes to avoid the hubbub of hotels, it’s easy to forget that Sky’s marginal gains approach has always involved a lot of data-wrangling.

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Extrapolating a rider’s future performances by crunching numbers, or factoring in historical wind data to the analysis of a time trial course is a tough sell to a daily newspaper or a large business looking for a motivational speaker, so it often gets forgotten — but the data analysis side of marginal gains is accessible to any cyclist with a power meter.

Rob Kitching, a part-time British Cycling accredited coach and software engineer, runs Cyclingpowerlab.com, a website that provides data analysis for cyclists tailored to specific events, and he believes that a marginal gains approach can be as beneficial for amateurs as it is for professionals.

“There are two reasons to apply marginal gains:

1) because your returns from training time are diminishing, which explains why a lot of highly trained pro athletes who are close to their genetic potential would start to give the idea time and attention.

2) because certain things can be seen as ‘low hanging fruit’ or ‘quick wins’.

“The latter are definitely of interest to lesser-trained amateur athletes who, instead of bumping up against genetic potential, may be bumping up against the maximum time they can dedicate to training and who therefore look for ways to think or buy themselves faster.”

There’s no shame in having a demanding job, a busy family life or even other interests that compete with cycling, and finding ways to improve your performances on the bike without sacrificing your bike/life balance is fundamental part of being cyclist.

Who hasn’t attempted to buy a bit of speed with better wheels, or up their game with a few gallons of beetroot juice? According to Kitching, data analysis is the first step in figuring out which marginal gains could be made effectively.

Gains in the most unlikely of places

“The initial value of sports analytics or performance modelling is in measuring what you already do, then revealing what you could do better.

That lets you prioritise where any time or money put into marginal gains could best be invested… We can run a computer model to simulate performance [under different variables].

“As a concrete example, the data might reveal that a rider is significantly less aero than competitors at the same height and weight — so the rider would work on aerodynamic optimisation as a priority, starting with the quick wins and working through the smaller stuff, until the limit of time or money is reached.”

Balancing financial and time cost is where a marginal gains approach can be even more important for amateurs than professionals.

Whereas almost all top-flight professional teams have the budget to explore a wide variety of potential gains, amateurs have to be more focused, and there are times when it’s worth pitting some of the more technical-sounding marginal gains against the more gimmicky ones.

“Most riders lose at least two per cent of their power in the drivetrain, and there is good evidence to suggest that drivetrain optimisation is worth a few watts,” says Kitching.

>>> How to clean your road bike in seven minutes (video)

“But optimised chains don’t last long, so they’re a really expensive choice, whereas hand sanitisers are just a low-cost extension of the decades-old advice to wash you hands a lot [to prevent illness].

“If something is evidence-based, justified by time and money, and reasonably likely to help the athlete, then it’s on the right side of the line.”

Even coaches who aren’t entirely convinced by marginal gains tend to quibble less over their effectiveness and more over the term ‘marginal’.

According to Paul Hough, lead physiologist at St Mary’s University, there are physiological thresholds that need to be reached before it’s worth looking elsewhere for gains:

“If the athlete hasn’t got a long, consistent training history, then minor tweaks probably won’t make much difference. A [male] cyclist with a VO2 max of 50 or body fat higher than about 13 per cent won’t notice a significant improvement by, say, changing to ceramic bearings.

“Speaking as an insomniac, though, improving sleep benefits all athletes. [Two or more] consecutive nights of poor sleep have been shown to reduce cognitive and physical performance.”

Aside from the reduction of fatigue and improvement in reaction and recovery times, good sleeping habits reduce stress hormones and increase the availability of human growth hormone, a potent performance-enhancer.

Perhaps Sky’s motorhome and mattresses aren’t just a sideshow for the press. Nor, according to Hough, is the hand-washing.

Team Sky’s motorhome ended up for sale on eBay

“Illness is a major concern for athletes as even minor infections can impair performance. In general you’re OK to exercise with a mild cold [but you should avoid] exercising in group environments to prevent spreading the virus to others.”

It’s interesting that though some of the more high-tech pursuits of marginal gains provoke debate among our experts, many of the simpler ones — good sleep, good hygiene, clean drivetrains — are unanimously regarded as worthwhile.

It may turn out that the core of a marginal gains philosophy is, as CW’s own Dr Hutch once termed it, “the ruthless pursuit of the fairly obvious”.

>>> Dr Hutch: Remember marginal gains? They used to be big

Hanging a media-friendly name on it and treating it as something new is what invites cynicism and scrutiny, but the practice of leaving nothing to chance and taking nothing for granted isn’t new or suspicious, it has always been a fundamental part of sport.

In fact, the only thing up for debate is the point at which the effort exceeds the returns, and that’s something that will depend entirely on the time, money and headspace you have available.

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Paris-Nice stage 3 highlights – Video

Stage 3 at Paris-Nice provided another chance for the sprinters, and Bora-Hansgrohe’s Sam Bennett made the most of his opportunity on Wednesday, out-kicking a world-class field to win the stage in Chalon-sur-Saône ahead of Alexander Kristoff (Katusha-Alpecin), John Degenkolb (Trek-Segafredo) and Marcel Kittel (Quick-Step Floors).

The day got underway with a three-rider break that included Pierre Latour (AG2R La Mondiale), Ben King (Dimension Data) and Romain Combaud (Delko-Marseille) sneaking away within the first couple of kilometres. The trio cooperated well and stretched their advantage to seven minutes before the FDJ team of race leader Arnaud Demare came to the fore and started taking back large chunks of time.

The lead trio’s gap was down to just 1:30 with 30km remaining, and King was jettisoned from the group on the category 2 climb of Côte de Charrecey. Latour and Combaud combined their strengths to put up a fierce battle for survival in the lead, but their efforts succumbed to the chase as they passed under the flamme rouge. From there, it was a mad dash to the line, with Kittel jumping first and Bennett coming around the big German before the line.

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Team Sky chair backs Dave Brailsford as team hits back at ‘inaccurate’ and ‘untrue’ assumptions

Team Sky issues a statement refuting its critics

Chairman of Team Sky Graham McWilliam has publicly come out in support of embattled team principal Dave Brailsford as the team put out a lengthy statement challenging its critics.

Scrutiny of Sky and Brailsford in particular has intensified since UK Anti-Doping (UKAD) gave an update on its investigation into the team including a series of eyebrow raising revelations about lost medical records and large volumes of a controlled substance being ordered.

McWilliam took to Twitter to say: “For record, TS [Team Sky] Board & Sky are 100% behind team and Sir Dave Brailsford as its leader. We look forward to many more years of success.”

>>> Everything you need to know about the British Cycling/Sky mystery package saga

He also congratulated the team for “challenging some of the inaccurate commentary of recent days” as it released an eight-page document (which you can read in full here) outlining a series of “clarifications” on the UKAD investigation and how the team’s anti-doping practice has improved since 2011.

In a covering letter to that document Brailsford said: “While I obviously respect the fact that people will have their view on issues related to this investigation, I do believe that some of the comments made about Team Sky have been unreasonable and incorrect.”

Brailsford has come under pressure in recent days after the chair of UKAD, Nicole Sapstead, told MPs that it had been unable to verify what was in a package shipped to the team at the Critérium du Dauphiné in 2011.

Sapstead revealed it had been alleged it contained the controlled substance triamcinolone and was administered to Bradley Wiggins that evening, a procedure for which he would have required a therapeutic use exemption [TUE] when he did not have one.

Sapstead said the agency had yet to reach a conclusion because there were no available records kept by then Sky doctor Richard Freeman, who had failed to upload them to a shared Dropbox folder.

Sky said that Freeman’s lack of records was a “failure to comply with team policy on this occasion”, however, the team added “that does not mean that he kept no medical records at all”.

>>> Geraint Thomas ‘frustrated’ and ‘annoyed’ by Team Sky press coverage

Sapstead also told MPs that there had been a large amount of triamcinolone ordered into BC and Sky’s then shared medical room in Manchester. She said there was either “excessive amount being ordered for one person or quite a few people had a similar problem”. The Sunday Times later reported that 70 ampoules were ordered.

But now Sky has revealed that only 55 ampoules of the drug were ordered over a four-year period between 2010 and 2013.

It added: “Only a small proportion of this was administered to Team Sky riders. According to Dr Freeman, the majority was used in his private practice and to treat Team Sky and British Cycling staff.” Freeman, the team said, is a musculoskeletal specialist and the drug was quite commonly used to treat inflammation in that area of medicine.

The team added: “While it is not possible for Team Sky to confirm why and when triamcinolone was administered to non-riders (as we would, rightly, not have access to those private medical records), with regard to riders we would only ever allow triamcinolone to be provided as a legitimate and justified medical treatment in accordance with the applicable anti-doping rules.”

Freeman has claimed the package contained fluimucil and Wiggins told investigators that he was given fluimucil on the day in question but he did not know what was in the package.

>>> Team Sky riders rally to show support for Dave Brailsford

However, since that explanation emerged in December there has been persistent questions over why the drug was couriered from Manchester to a mountain in the French Alps when it was available in local pharmacies.

Sky’s statement said: “This is a misunderstanding… As the Select Committee was told by the Medicines and Healthcare Products Regulatory Agency, Fluimucil is not licensed for sale in the United Kingdom, in any of its forms. It is our understanding that while Fluimucil is licensed for sale in France, the particular form used by the team (i.e. 3ml, 10% ampoule form for use in a nebulizer) is not available for sale in France, nor to our knowledge was it available for sale in 2011.”

The team also said that Freeman had said he did not have prescription rights in France that would be required to get the drug.

Team Sky’s statement went on to outline ways in which its medical record keeping and anti-doping practice has improved since 2011.

It said it had introduced standardized ordering processes for medical supplies complete with oversight by a second doctor and he team’s financial controller; introduced an annual review of medical policies; appointed a full-time compliance officer, who reports to the board; more extensive rider background checks; greater rider education; and setting up a anti-doping working group of senior management, performance and medical staff.

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Sam Bennett beats top sprint stars to win Paris-Nice stage three

Irish sprinter beats Alexander Kristoff and John Degenkolb to claim a major victory in Paris-Nice

Irish sprinter Sam Bennett (Bora-Hansgrohe) took the biggest win of his career to date on Tuesday, beating an array of top sprint names to secure stage three of Paris-Nice.

Bennett topped the top 10 of the stage that read like a who’s who of sprint stars, with Alexander Kristoff (Katusha-Alpecin) in second, John Degenkolb (Trek-Segafredo) in third, Marcel Kittel (Quick-Step Floors) in fourth and André Greipel (Lotto-Soudal) in seventh.

Overall race leader Arnaud Démare (FDJ) finished in sixth place to retain the yellow jersey going into Wednesday’s stage four time trial.

The day started as Romain Combaud (Delko Marseille Provence KTM), Pierre Latour (Ag2r La Mondiale) and Ben King (Dimension Data) launched an early attack. After two tough days featuring poor weather conditions and often chaotic racing, calmer weather enticed the peloton to take it a bit easier and the escape swiftly built up a lead of over seven minutes.

By the time the trio hit the last of the day’s two categorised climbs – the second category Côte de Charrecey inside 30km to go – their advantage was just above 40 seconds. Latour attacked over the top to take the maximum king of the mountain points and was followed by Combaud as King dropped back to the bunch.

>>> Paris-Nice 2017: Latest news, reports and info

Both riders really pushed on, adopting a low position on their bikes and taking big turns at the front and they held a half-minute lead in a game of cat-and-mouse with the bunch.

Just inside 4km to go, LottoNL-Jumbo suffered misfortune when their sprinter Dylan Groenewegen crashed on a roundabout, but the incident did not disrupt the pack’s chase.

Despite the best efforts of Combaud and Latour, the combined strength of the sprinters’ teams at the front of the peloton meant that were caught with just one kilometre to go.

All of the top fastmen then massed to the front and launched their sprints, but Bennett appeared to have a gear higher than his rivals, and cross the line with enough time to celebrate his landmark win with style.

“I was confident in myself. I felt good,” said Bennett. “I was just waiting for the right opportunity. I stayed focused all day for this final sprint. I’m very fortunate to have won today in Chalon-sur-Saône. We are experiencing a really tough Paris-Nice edition, so the victory is that more beautiful today.”

Démare continues to lead fellow Frenchman Julian Alaphilippe (Quick-Step Floors) by six seconds overall, with Kristoff moving up to third overall at 13 seconds.

Groenewegen was not the only rider to fall foul of a crash. Reinardt Janse van Rensburg (Dimension Data) crashed heavily during the stage with around 30km to go. He appeared to be the only rider to hit the floor in the incident, and abandoned the race.

After three road stages, the riders now face a crucial individual time trial on Wednesday. The 14.5-kilometre test against the clock runs from Beaujeu to the second category climb of Mont Brouilly, with the latter featuring a tough ramp up to the line over the final 3km.


Paris-Nice 2017, stage three:
1. Sam Bennett (Irl) Bora-Hansgrohe, in 4-31-14
2. Alexander Kristoff (Nor) Katusha-Alpecin
3. John Degenkolb (Ger) Trek-Segafredo
4. Marcel Kittel (Ger) Quick-Step Floors
5. Michael Matthews (Aus) Team Sunweb
6. Arnaud Démare (Fra) FDJ
7. André Greipel (Ger) Lotto-Soudal
8. Christophe Laporte (Fra) Cofidis
9. Kristian Sbaragli (Ita) Dimension Data
10. Magnus Cort Nielsen (Den) Orica-Scott, all same time

General classification after stage three
1. Arnaud Démare (Fra) FDJ, in 12-14-42
2. Julian Alaphilippe (Fra) Quick-Step Floors, at 6 secs
3. Alexander Kristoff (Nor) Katusha-Alpecin, at 13 secs
4. Philippe Gilbert (Bel) Quick-Step Floors, at 17 secs
5. Tony Gallopin (Fra) Lotto-Soudal, at 19 secs
6. Romain Hardy (Fra) Fortuneo-Vital Concept, at 21 secs
7. Sergio Henao (Col) Team Sky, at 23 secs
8. Rudy Molard (Fra) FDJ, at 23 secs
9. Daniel Martin (Irl) Quick-Step Floors, at 23 secs
10. Kristijan Koren (Slo) Cannondale-Drapac, at 31 secs

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Steve Abraham starts new Year Record attempt two years after being hit by moped on first attempt

Abraham starts a new attempt after breaking ankle in first attempt

Steve Abraham has embarked on another attempt at the highest annual mileage record two years after he was forced to stop his first attempt after being hit by a moped.

Abraham will be attempting to break the mark of 76,076 miles (122,432km) set by American Kurt Searvogel in January 2016, who surpassed the long-standing record of 75,065 miles (120,805km) set by Tommy Godwin in 1939.

>>> Amazing Strava heat map produced of where Steve Abraham rode on his Year Record attempt

The rider from Milton Keynes began his new attempt on March 4, starting near Huntingdon and heading north easy towards The Wash before heading back towards his home-town on a 163.8 mile (263.6km) ride.

This was followed up by two rides longer rides on Sunday and Monday up to Goole and back, to bring his total so far to 612.9 miles (986.4km), and you can follow his efforts on Strava.

>>> What is the world’s ultimate cycling challenge?

Abraham will be hoping for better luck than he endured on his initial attempt in 2015 when he fractured his ankle in a collision with a moped three months into the record.

Since then Abraham has broken the record for the highest distance ridden in a month, riding 7104.3 miles (11,433.3km) in September 2016.

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