Mathieu Burgaudeau provides surprise with slim breakaway survival on stage six of Paris-Nice

The Frenchman attacked late and managed to hold off the charging bunch sprint with metres to go

Mathieu Burgaudeau
(Image credit: Getty)

TotalEnergies' Mathieu Burgaudeau was the surprise winner of Paris-Nice stage six, attacking within the last 10km and surviving the catch from the charging peloton in the final few metres.

The Frenchman managed to hold off Trek-Segafredo's Mads Pedersen, who couldn't quite catch Burgaudeau and was forced to settle for second, with the green jersey of Wout van Aert (Jumbo-Visma) third.

Primož Roglič retains the yellow jersey heading into the final two stages this weekend.

How it happened

Jasper Philipsen (Alpecin-Fenix) was among a handful of non-starters before the more than 200km-long stage six, a headwind adding insult to injury for those in the peloton hoping an easy day at the office would be in store.

Soon, a group of five separated themselves from the bunch, Johan Jacobs (Movistar), Valentin Madouas (Groupama-FDJ), Julius van den Berg (EF Education-EasyPost), Yevgeniy Federov (Astana-Qazaqstan) and Victor Koretzky (B&B Hotels-KTM), and Lotto-Soudal’s Sébastien Grignard chasing to try and bridge the gap and eventually making it across on the lower slopes of the Col de Murs.

Quick-Step AlphaVinyl’s Fabio Jakobsen then abandoned the race, Valentin Madouas then leading over the Col de Murs to add to his king of the mountains lead.

Atop the Col du Pointu lay an intermediate sprint, rather than more KOM points, with EF's Julius van den Berg winning that. Behind, the peloton was injected with some pace as they brought the gap back under the four-minute mark.

Into the final 100km and the break's advantage was under three and a half minutes, the average speed so far of the stage being 37km/h.

Madouas again led over the Col de Sambuc, Bryan Coquard dropping back to the medic car behind for some attention, Madouas also first over the Col des Portes, more GC teams joining the front behind as the gap fell to under two minutes.

Ineos' Ethan Hayter was soon among a group of riders momentarily distanced as the peloton stretched out, but no lasting damage was done. The lack of pace on the next climb, the Col de Pas de la Couelle, was such that race leader Primož Roglič felt comfortable enough to stop for a nature break.

Madouas again swept up maximum points at the summit, Grignard having dropped, Sam Bennett just staying in touch behind. The long climb of the day was now coming up, the Col de l’Espigoulier, 10.8km in length at 4.4%.

Van den Berg could smell danger when the peloton closed to within a minute and took off solo, which did it for the collaboration of the breakaway. At the bottom of the climb, Jacobs attacked, Koretzky following, and Matthew Holmes (Lotto-Soudal) jumping from the peloton behind, quickly making the junction to the front two.

Trek-Segafredo's Julien Bernard led the peloton, having a personal history with this race after his father won it three decades ago. The trio did hold half a minute at one point, the pace in the peloton slow enough for some of the fast men, minus Sam Bennett, to stay in contact.

Holmes took the points at the top but soon after the bunch made the catch, 27km remaining, Søren Kragh Andersen (DSM) attacking on the descent, Trek-Segafredo then making the catch and Alex Kirsch leading the bunch in aid of Mads Pedersen's hopes at the stage win.

The French duo of Olivier Le Gac (Groupama-FDJ) and Christophe Laporte (Jumbo-Visma) then went on the offensive, inside the final 10km, before Mathieu Burgaudeau (TotalEnergies) came across and then left those two in his rear view mirror.

Counter moves erupted behind but Burgaudeau was going for it, yet only had 10 seconds at 6km to go, doubling after another 3km as the peloton lacked urgency.

Sometimes, the peloton gets it wrong, but don't let that take anything away from Burgaudeau's brave move, as the likes of Pedersen and Van Aert and their teams left it too late, still trailing the French as he lifted his hands in the air across the line to take a remarkable stage victory.

Results

Paris-Nice 2022, stage six: Courthézon to Aubagne (213.6km)

1. Mathieu Burgaudeau (Fra) TotalEnergies, in 5-33-06
2. Mads Pedersen (Den) Trek-Segafredo, at same time
3. Wout van Aert (Bel) Jumbo-Visma
4. Hailu Girmay (Eri) Intermarché-Wanty-Gobert Matériaux
5. Bryan Coquard (Fra) Cofidis
6. Luka Mezgec (Slo) BikeExchange-Jayco
7. Ivan García Cortina (Esp) Movistar
8. Dorian Godon (Fra) Ag2r Citroën
9. Florian Sénéchal (Fra) Quick-Step AlphaVinyl
10. Luca Mozzato (Ita) B&B Hotels-KTM, all at same time

General classification after stage six

1. Primož Roglič (Slo) Jumbo-Visma, in 22-23-34
2. Simon Yates (GBr) BikeExchange-Jayco, at 39s
3. Pierre Latour (Fra) TotalEnergies, at 41s
4. Dani Martínez (Col) Ineos Grenadiers, at 56
5. Aleksandr Vlasov (Rus) Bora-Hansgrohe, at 59
6. Adam Yates (GBr) Ineos Grenadiers, at 1-11
7. Søren Kragh Andersen (Den) Team DSM, at 1-26
8. Jack Haig (Aus) Bahrain-Victorious, at 1-35
9. Nairo Quintana (Col) Arkéa-Samsic, at 1-45
10. Ion Izagirre (Esp) Cofidis, at 2-01

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Hi. I'm Cycling Weekly's Weekend Editor. I like writing offbeat features and eating too much bread when working out on the road at bike races.


Before joining Cycling Weekly I worked at The Tab and I've also written for Vice, Time Out, and worked freelance for The Telegraph (I know, but I needed the money at the time so let me live).


I also worked for ITV Cycling between 2011-2018 on their Tour de France and Vuelta a España coverage. Sometimes I'd be helping the producers make the programme and other times I'd be getting the lunches. Just in case you were wondering - Phil Liggett and Paul Sherwen had the same ham sandwich every day, it was great.