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Matteo Jorgenson 'in the position I wanted to be in' chasing Paris-Nice win

It’s been a very long time since two riders from the United States have been atop the general classification in a European stage race, particularly one of the prestige of Paris-Nice. But on Friday, Matteo Jorgenson (Visma-Lease a Bike) made one big step toward his goal of winning the race.

Jorgenson attacked on the final climb of stage 6, the Côte de la Colle-sur-Loup and was joined by compatriot Brandon McNulty (UAE Team Emirates) and Mattias Skjelmose (Lidl-Trek). While Skjelmose played a tactical game to win the stage, McNulty and Jorgenson had bigger ambitions.

“I was going for the GC today,” Jorgenson said. ‘I had the feeling it was going to be a GC day with the weather conditions. I’m not disappointed not winning the stage, I’m a bit disappointed with Skjelmose just sitting on for a while but that’s the game I suppose. Chapeau to him.”

McNulty came into the stage in third place in the general classification, 27 seconds down on leader Luke Plapp (Jayco-AlULa). Jorgenson sat in eighth at 52 seconds. 

Through their exploits on Friday, they gained almost a minute – enough to move McNulty into the maillot jaune and Jorgenson in second just 23 seconds behind him, donning the jersey of best young rider.

The two Americans are also well ahead of favourites such as Remco Evenepoel (Soudal-Quickstep, 5th at 1:03) and Primož Roglič (Bora-Hansgrohe, 11th at 1:44) with two stages remaining.

“I really expected that there would be hesitations and I expected Primoz and Remco to go pretty hard on the last climb,” Jorgenson said.

“They kind of watched each other and I was surprised that we had this big a gap in the end. We had good legs in the front but they must have been holding themselves at the back.”

Now, the two friendly rivals will face a shortened stage on Saturday with a new finish because of the forecast of snow, and the usual explosive final stage in Nice. Jorgenson said he’s not going to gift the race to McNulty.

“Brandon is a good friend but the race is on now. I definitely won’t hold anything back. That’s the position I wanted to be in,” he said.

Based in Nice, Jorgenson is familiar with all of the climbs, but especially the one where the race will finish on Saturday.

“I know la Madone d’Utelle well, it’s actually one of my favourite climbs in Nice. I was really happy when I heard the news last night. I ride it quite often,” he said.

“It’s one of the best views in the whole of Nice with the Alps on one side and the sea on the other side.”

Riders may not be able to enjoy the view with two more cold, rainy days on tap for the final weekend of the “Race to the Sun”.

SOURCE: CyclingNews   (go to source)
AUTHOR: laura@cyclingnews.com
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