Nairo Quintana flew up the final 5km of La Colmiane on stage seven of Paris-Nice and took a well deserved victory after falling out of GC contention with a crash in the crosswinds.
But it was Thomas De Gendt (Lotto-Soudal) who was turning heads. The breakaway king decided to head into the days break with riders such as Julian Alaphilippe (Deceuninck – Quick-Step), who was throwing it all on the line to try and take GC victory.
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De Gendt put in a fantastic performance though, taking eight Strava KOMs along the way. From 20km in to 40km in, where the breakaway was forming, the bearded Belgian averaged 388 watts with a peak of 1,009w before tackling the Col de Vence, holding 576w for 30 seconds.
On La Colmiane, the final climb, the multiple Grant Tour stage winner achieved a similar average power of 364w, strangely when De Gendt attacked Alaphilippe to go on alone, his power dropped but his pace rocketed from 23kph to 45kph at its peak before settling back down to a solid tempo.
De Gendt didn’t take the stage which was eventually taken by Nairo Quintana (Arkéa-Samsic), who apparently broke the record for the fastest ascent, but sadly Quintana doesn’t use Strava.
The current Strava record, like most major climbs in the region, is held by Thibaut Pinot (Groupama-FDJ), which was set on Saturday as Pinot chased Quintana for stage honours.
Tiesj Benoot (Team Sunweb) attacked late on the try and steal the overall title away from Max Schachmann (Bora-Hansgrohe) but was unable get the time needed despite flying up the last 3km of the climb.
Benoot missed out on the overall by 18 seconds in the Strade Bianche winners first Paris-Nice, he was a major rider throughout the week, kicking off attacked on stage one with Alaphilippe, getting third on that day.
He went on to take the green points jersey thanks to his late attack and victory the day before on stage six in what was a Team Sunweb masterclass.