Giant-Shimano's fast finisher finally gets it right at the Mangy Cours circuit after two near misses.
John Degenkolb moved into the race lead at Paris-Nice after winning stage three of the race at the Magny Cours circuit in Nevers today.
The German had finished second in the first two bunch sprints of this year’s race, but comfortably crossed the line ahead of Matt Goss (Orica-GreenEdge) and Jose Joaquin Rojas (Movistar).
Degenkolb (Giant-Shimano) started the day just two seconds behind FDJ.fr rider Nacer Bouhanni, and took the yellow jersey by virtue of the 10-second time bonus on the line.
“It’s really unbelievable,” he said. “Everything today was perfect. It came together – on the other days, there was something was missing. I’m really happy to get the victory for my team-mates, they supported me like always in a perfect way.”
Perrig Quemeneur (Europcar), Julien Fouchard (Cofidis) and Romain Feillu (Bretagne-Séché Environnement) made up the day’s breakaway, and the latter was the race leader on the road for large parts of the stage, having started the day 32 seconds off Bouhanni.
Quemeneur dropped the two others with 11km remaining, but was caught halfway round the Magny Cours circuit after a gallant attempt, which last hosted a Formula One round in 2008.
Giant controlled the peloton approaching the line, and gave their leader the perfect springboard from which he took his fourth win of the season – all of which have come in France.
Paris-Nice 2014, stage three: Toucy to Nevers (Magny Cours circuit)
1. John Degenkolb (Ger) Giant-Shimano 180km in 4-27-26
2. Matt Goss (Aus) Orica-GreenEdge
3. Jose Joaquin Rojas (Spa) Movistar
4. Borut Bozic (Slo) Astana
5. Tom Boonen (Bel) Omega Pharma-Quick Step
6. Alexander Kristoff (Nor) Katusha
7. Nacer Bouhanni (Fra) FDJ.fr
8. Thor Hushovd (Nor) BMC
9. Geert Steegman (Bel) Omega Pharma-Quick Step
10. Moreno Hofland (Ned) Belkin all at st.
General classifcation after stage three
1. John Degenkolb (Ger) Giant-Shimano in 13-14-01
2. Nacer Bouhanni (Fra) FDJ.fr at 0-08
3. Moreno Hofland (Ned) Belkin at 0-12
4. Jose Joaquin Rojas (Spa) Movistar at 0-18
5. Geraint Thomas (GBr) Team Sky at 0-21
6. Bryan Coquard (Fra) Europcar at 0-21
7. Alexander Kristoff (Nor) Katusha
8. Nikolay Trusov (Rus) Tinkoff-Saxo
9. Samuel Dumoulin (Fra) Ag2r-La Mondiale
10. Marco Marcato (Ita) Cannondale all at st.