Tadej Pogačar takes Paris-Nice lead with dominant mountaintop victory on stage four

The Slovenian will wear the yellow leader's jersey on stage five

Tadej Pogacar wins stage four of Paris-Nice ahead of David Gaudu
(Image credit: Getty)

In their first mountain duel since the Tour de France, Tadej Pogačar (UAE Team Emirates) proved his strength over Jonas Vingegaard (Jumbo-Visma), sprinting to victory atop the Loge des Gardes at Paris-Nice

The Slovenian attacked with 2.5km to go on stage four's final climb, shaking off the reigning Tour champion, and towing Groupama FDJ’s David Gaudu to the line. 

The duo then jostled it out at the summit, where Pogačar kicked ahead to claim the stage and 10 bonus seconds. Vingegaard crossed the line in sixth, 43 seconds in arrears. 

The UAE Team Emirates rider now leads Paris-Nice with ten seconds over Gaudu and 44 seconds over Vingegaard. “It was not in my mind to take yellow today,” he said after the race, “but you don’t say no to yellow.”

Pogačar also sits at the top of the youth and points classifications.  

How it happened

Stage four brought the first of two summit finishes at this year’s Paris-Nice, as the riders set out towards the category-one Loge des Gardes. 

It took 26km for the breakaway to form, when Lilian Calmejane (Intermarché-Circus-Wanty) and Maurice Ballerstedt (Alpecin-Deceuninck) forced the move. Others soon followed, including polka dot jersey wearer Jonas Gregaard (Uno-X), to form a seven-rider group up the road. 

With the wind blowing across central France, splits ripped through the peloton. UAE Team Emirates and Jumbo-Visma tried to increase the pace for their leaders, but the bunch came back together when the race shifted onto more sheltered roads. 

UAE Team Emirates, however, continued to make things difficult. With 30km to go, Pogačar's team took control of the peloton and strung it out on the category-three Côte de Cheval Rigon. The tempo, it appeared, was not enough to rattle Vingegaard, who calmly blew a kiss to the television cameras. 

The climbing continued beyond the Côte, where the day’s escapees began to fall away. In a sprint at its peak, Michael Matthews (Jayco AlUla) claimed six bonus seconds, while Pogačar sprung out of the peloton to add another two to his tally. 

Ineos Grenadiers led the pack through the valley and onto the final climb, La Loge des Gardes, which stretched out 6.7km at an average gradient in excess of 7%. 

There, the pace laid waste to the peloton. Matthews was the first to be dropped, with race leader Magnus Cort (EF Education-EasyPost) also losing contact. Pogačar positioned himself well, riding inches off Vingegaard’s wheel at the front of the race. 

When the current Tour champion attacked with 4km to go, the Slovenian followed. The duo then sat up, giving way to David Gaudu (Groupama-FDJ), who countered from the chasing group. 

With 2.5km remaining, Pogačar made his move. Within seconds, the two-time Tour winner closed the gap to Gaudu, with Vingegaard trying, and failing, to go with him. 

Pogačar attempted to form a partnership with Gaudu, flicking his elbow for the Frenchman to pull through, but in the end he chose to do all the work himself. Gaudu took shelter behind, before trying to jump the Slovenian in the run-in to the line. 

Pogačar wouldn't allow it. 

In a display of dominance reminiscent of his two Tour de France victories, the UAE Team Emirates rider thrashed down on the pedals, distancing the Frenchman, to take his first victory at Paris-Nice, and his seventh of the season. 

Paris-Nice 2023, stage four: Saint-Amand-Montrond - La Loge des Gardes (165km) 

1. Tadej Pogačar (Slo) UAE Team Emirates, in 4-01-17
2. David Gaudu (Fra) Groupama-FDJ, at 1s
3. Gino Mäder (Sui) Bahrain Victorious, at 34s
4. Aurélien Paret-Peintre (Fra) AG2R Citröen, at 42s
5. Kévin Vauquelin (Fra) Arkéa Samsic
6. Jonas Vingegaard (Den) Jumbo-Visma, both at 43s
7. Romain Bardet (Fra) Team DSM
8. Dani Martínez (Col) Ineos Grenadiers
9. Simon Yates (GBr) Jayco AlUla
10. Matteo Jorgenson (USA) Movistar, all at 51s

General classification after stage four

1. Tadej Pogačar (Slo) UAE Team Emirates, in 11-55-00
2. David Gaudu (Fra) Groupama-FDJ, at 10s
3. Jonas Vingegaard (Den) Jumbo-Visma, at 44s
4. Simon Yates (GBr) Jayco AlUla, at 56s
5. Gino Mäder (Sui) Bahrain Victorious, at 1-19
6. Romain Bardet (Fra) Team DSM
7. Dani Martínez (Col) Ineos Grenadiers, both at at 1-40
8. Matteo Jorgenson (USA) Movistar, at 1-42
9. Neilson Powless (USA) EF Education-EasyPost, at 1-44
10. Matteo Sobrero (Ita) Jayco AlUla, at 1-54

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