Geraint Thomas and Sky aiming to make impression in Paris-Nice stage three finale

Team Sky will attempt to set up Geraint Thomas for a good finish on Wednesday's climb-filled stage to Mont Brouilly

Geraint Thomas on stage one of the 2016 Paris-Nice (Watson)
(Image credit: Graham Watson)

Update: since this article was published stage three of 2016 Paris-Nice was cancelled due to heavy snow fall and adverse temperatures.

Geraint Thomas (Sky) will be seeking to contest the finale of stage three of Paris-Nice on Wednesday, as the overall contenders have their first real battle with an uphill finish on Mont Brouilly.

The 29-year-old Welshman will have good memories of the short, sharp climb of Mont Brouilly as it was there that he attacked with Tom-Jelte Slagter during the 2014 edition of Paris-Nice to take the overall race lead.

Back then, the climb was situated with around 13km until the finish. Thomas and Slagter crested the climb, and then managed to keep the chase group at bay into the line in Belleville.

Tom Jelte-Slagter escapes with Geraint Thomas on stage four of the 2014 Paris-Nice

Tom Jelte Slagter escapes with Geraint Thomas on stage four of the 2014 Paris-Nice
(Image credit: Graham Watson)

This year, riders will tackle Mont Brouilly twice. Up and down it, then up it again to the finish line. The two ascents of the second-category Brouilly are the final two of no less than seven categorised climbs during the 168km stage, with the added complication of more cold, wet weather.

>>> Michael Matthews takes Paris-Nice stage two win in controversial finish

"The last time we rode that climb was when G took the yellow jersey in this race two years ago," said Team Sky's sports director Nicolas Portal.

"Back then the stage finished with a descent off the back of it, but this time we do it two times and the second lap finishes at the summit.

"It's a steep, power climb that will suit a punchy rider. More gaps will open up again and we have to make sure G is right up there at the end. The climb's only 3km long but we will have to stay alert."

Paris-Nice 2016 stage 3 profile

Paris-Nice 2016 stage 3 profile

So far, Thomas has put in a solid ride in the 2016 Paris-Nice to position himself in fifth place overall - 19 seconds adrift of overall leader Michael Matthews (Orica-GreenEdge). He finished seventh in the opening prologue, 10th on stage one and 17th on stage two.

Crucially, Thomas was one of a small group of riders to make a front split at the end of stage two, and grabbed four extra seconds over rivals Alberto Contador (Tinkoff) and Richie Porte (BMC).

"I'm really pleased with that because we've been battling for every second over the last few days, and we looked after him all the way to the line," said Portal of Thomas's time gain.

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