On the last stage of Paris-Nice, Elie Gesbert and Amael Moinard were in the break again. Amael Moinard launched the offensive on the flat and was quickly joined by Elie Gesbert. A group of 37 men took shape. Amael and Elie worked hard all day. When the breakaway was reined in by the GC group, Elie managed to stay with them. He eventually cracked to finish 21st. After the disappointment of the first days with Warren Barguil and Maxime Bouet’s withdrawals, the team bounced back to show their strengths.
Elie Gesbert (21st) : “I wanted to jump away in the first climb, we did it with about 40 riders. I managed to get to the front by spending a bit of energy. We were there with Amael but we never opened a big gap, we were expected the GC group to come back. When Quintana came back, we struggled a bit. Amael trains here so he knew all the roads. We sat up a little bit to wait for the yellow jersey group with Sky controlling the tempo. Then I tried to stay with them as long as possible and it really hurt.
In the final descent, Bob Jungels and I got distanced a little bit. He managed to get back to the group but I could not. The efforts from this week and yesterday left traces, but I think it’s normal. There is not one quiet day on Paris-Nice, it’s a big fight every day. I’m happy with my week but you always have to improve. My next race will be the Settimana Internazionale Coppi e Bartali in Italy.”
Amael Moinard : “I jumped from the pack right away on the flat. We tried to open a gap to have a good stage. We were four in the front and we were reined in on the first climb. That’s when Elie joined me in the break. Elie showed great behavior and I think it’s good, we were aggressive again today. We finish on a good note. I’m a bit frustrated by Paris-Nice. We came aiming for better, so we can say we’re not happy. Unfortunately we lost our leader and a previous team mate in the second stage so it was complicated. We fought with what we had.”
Yvon Ledanois, sports director : “There are grounds for satisfaction at the end of this Paris-Nice. First of all, Elie Gesbert. After yesterday’s stage, he was in front again today and finished close to the best. It’s a step forward for him. Today, in the finale and in the last climb, there were 15 riders and he was up there with them. He lost a bit of ground near the top. Team Sky rode hard in the descent and if you’re not in someone’s wheel, you can’t come back, but he finished close. It’s good, it’s what he is expecting from himself. Elie is ambitious and it’s good to get results. Let’s not get carried away, but yesterday and today he realized that he is getting there physically. His next race will be the Settimana Coppi e Bartali (March 27-31). It won’t be the same level and I told him he could do something great there. The riders did their job, like Amel Moinard who was on the attack again today, or Anfre Greipel who made it to Nice. The beginning of the race was terrible with Warren’s crash. We could have given up but the guys fought all the way and rode some good stages.”