Jumbo-Visma showed its power against the clock to win the stage three team time trial at Paris-Nice, but failed to take the leader's yellow jersey as EF Education-EasyPost's Magnus Cort stormed home to claim the top spot in the general classification.
The change to the rules of the TTT, with time being taken on the first rider rather than the fourth or fifth, did not shake up the majority of the stage, but Cort's attack inside the final kilometre ensured he, rather than Jumbo's Nathan van Hooydonck, claimed the yellow jersey.
However, the seven riders of Jumbo-Visma will not be disappointed with their efforts, with the Dutch squad taking time on all their general classification rivals. It means its leader, Jonas Vingegaard, now has a 14 second advantage over UAE Team Emirates' Tadej Pogačar.
Jayco-AlUla put in an early solid time that was later beaten by Jumbo-Visma and EF, but it means Simon Yates also has an advantage over his GC competitors, excluding Vingegaard.
Ineos Grenadiers and Bahrain-Victorious were the biggest losers of the day, losing over 45 seconds to the winners.
The general classification is now an interesting mix of overall leaders, time trial specialists and punchier riders, with Vingegaard, Yates, Neilson Powless (EF Education-EasyPost), Pogačar and David Gaudu (Groupama-FDJ) all within 15 seconds of each ahead of stage four's summit finish.
How it happened
The race was run in reverse teams classification order, so the first squads out of the start house were those who had limited impact on the race so far, and so it continued, with neither Lotto Dstny or Israel-Premier Tech troubling the top 10 at the end of the day.
Bahrain-Victorious was faster than either, but failed to set a scorching time. The most interesting part of its run was how congested the finishing straight was with riders from Israel-Premier Tech getting in the way.
The first squad to put in a serious tilt was Jayco-AlUla, the fourth squad to start setting a time that would last for almost an hour, putting Simon Yates in an excellent position. Taking advantage of the new rules, Yates finished with just Michael Matthews and Matteo Sobrero for company.
Ineos Grenadiers disappointed, losing 44 seconds over the course to Jayco, and thereby putting the general classification chances of Dani Martínez severely into doubt.
All eyes were then on UAE Team Emirates, who had Tadej Pogačar among its number. There was a scare early on as Felix Großchartner was briefly off the back, but the team regrouped to set a respectable time at the first time check and then at the finish. Pogačar flew off the front within the final 500m, deciding that he would be quicker alone that with teammates, and thus limiting the losses he would make to Jumbo-Visma.
Groupama-FDJ finished as a pair, with Stefan Küng pulling the diminutive David Gaudu up the final ramp, before Jumbo-Visma approached the pointy end of the course.
The Dutch team at Paris-Nice has two-time ITT world champion Rohan Dennis, reigning ITT champion Tobias Foss, Slovenian ITT champion Jan Tratnik, former European under-23 ITT champion Edoardo Affini, and the powerful Nathan van Hooydonck and Olav Kooij alongside Jonas Vingegaard, himself not a bad racer against the clock. It always looked like a squad built for Tuesday's team time trial, and so it proved.
Vingegaard crossed the line in the company of Tratnik and Van Hooydonck, the latter hoping that his effort would see him climb into the yellow jersey. The trio did enough to win the stage, but the chances of the race lead were quickly ruled out.
EF Education-EasyPost were 10 seconds off the pace at the first time check, but managed to pull it back on the second half of the course, almost besting Jumbo. Magnus Cort flew off his train inside the final kilometre, hunting both the stage win and the race lead. The former was missed by just a second and a half, but the latter was secured.
Trek-Segafredo was last off the start ramp with yellow jersey wearer Mads Pedersen, but despite a valiant effort, the day went to the other men in yellow, Jumbo-Visma, and the race lead to Cort.
Paris-Nice 2023 stage three results: Dampierre-en-Burly to Dampierre-en-Burly
1. Jumbo-Visma, in 33-55-11
2. EF Education-EasyPost, at 1s
3. Team Jayco-AlUla, at 4s
4. Groupama-FDJ, at 15s
5. UAE Team Emirates, at 24s
6. Bora-Hansgrohe, at 25s
7. Soudal Quick-Step, at 39s
8. Trek-Segafredo, at 45s
9. Bahrain-Victorious, at 47s
10. Ineos Grenadiers, at 49s
General classification after stage three
1. Magnus Cort (Den) EF Education-EasyPost, in 7-53-41
2. Nathan van Hooydonck (Ned) Jumbo-Visma, at 1s
3. Michael Matthews (Aus) Jayco AlUla, at 3s
4. Jan Tratnik (Slo) Jumbo-Visma
5. Jonas Vingegaard (Den) Jumbo-Visma, both at same time
6. Simon Yates (GBr) Jayco-AlUla, at 7s
7. Neilson Powless (USA) EF Education-EasyPost, at 8s
8. Tobias Foss (Nor) Jumbo-Visma, at same time
9. Kelland O'Brien (Aus) Jayco-AlUla, at 11s
10. Tadej Pogačar (Slo) UAE Team Emirates, at 14s
Thank you for reading 20 articles this month* Join now for unlimited access
Enjoy your first month for just £1 / $1 / €1
*Read 5 free articles per month without a subscription
Join now for unlimited access
Try first month for just £1 / $1 / €1