Kooij Wins Stage 5 of Paris-Nice
Stage 5 of Paris-Nice 2023 was a 212.4-kilometer hilly route from Saint-Symphorien-sur-Coise to Saint-Paul-Trois-Chateaux in the Drome department of southeastern France. The stage commenced with two category 2 climbs and later in the stage two category 3 climbs followed.
The beautiful stage route chosen by race organizer A.S.O. featured lavender fields, solar parks, olive plantations, and vineyeard fields. On paper the stage appeared to suit breakaway groups well, but alas the stage ended in an additional contest between the sprinters in the peloton. The sprint finish looked predictable for many kilometers given passivity in the peloton and the finish was primarily animated by a dangerous roundabout crossing and a brief solo attack by Ineos-Grenadiers rider Ben Swift.
Olav Kooij (Team Jumbo-Visma) beat Mads Pedersen (Trek-Segafredo), Tim Merlier (Soudal-QuickStep), Matteo Trentin (UAE Team Emirates) and others in the sprint across the finish line to take the stage victory and be celebrated on the winner’s podium.
"This is the most important win of my career so far,” thrilled stage winner Kooij told Roadcycling.com after crossing the finish line. “I am very grateful to the team. Edoardo's (Affini) work in the final part of the stage was phenomenal. I felt like I was too far off in the last kilometer, but we chose the right side in the last roundabout and made up a few meters there. Edoardo then put me in the front perfectly, and I passed (Mads) Pedersen. This victory means a lot to me. It was one of my goals for this spring. I already knew that on a good day, I could beat anyone. That confidence has only grown after today’s result.”
In the general classification Tadej Pogacar (UAE Team Emirates) remains overall race leader. Frenchman David Gaudu (Groupama-FDJ) is six seconds behind the leader and current Tour de France Champion Jonas Vingegaard (Jumbo-Visma) is in third place, 46 seconds behind the Slovenian.
Thursday’s stage 6 will be a 197.4-kilometer hilly ride in southern France from Tourves to La Colle-sur-Loup. The stage will take the Paris-Nice peloton further east and includes two category 3 mountains and three category 2 climbs. Will the sprinters prevail or will a breakaway group succeed? Will the general classification contestants take advantage of winds and small roads?
Stay tuned to Roadcycling.com for further coverage from Paris-Nice 2023.