Yates takes Paris-Nice lead with stage win

Yates took the stage win by eight seconds from Teuns and Izaguirre

But it was the final stage long-range attack that really reminded you of Contador, with Soler latching on to a promising move with Omar Fraile (Astana) and David de la Cruz (Team Sky) with almost 50km to go, then battling to chase down De la Cruz's attack on the final climb and ride to the finish for victory.

Marc Soler (Movistar) was crowned the 2018 Paris-Nice champion after taking a punt and going on a long-range attack.

"I'm progressing each year and I'm getting used to riding at that level".

Soler did not have the legs to contest the sprint finish, with De la Cruz overhauling Fraile at the death.

Yates found himself isolated at the back and the trio built a maximum lead of 1 minute and 30 seconds.

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The 24-year-old Soler moved to the front of the race with more than 40 kilometers left on the first category Cote de Peille - one of the six climbs making up the 110-kilometer stage - with fellow Spaniards David De La Cruz and Omar Fraile.

Soler's name now features in the Paris-Nice records alongside Spanish greats such as Miguel Indurain and Alberto Contador.

And Yates then made his move to the top of the standings on the penultimate day with victory on the queen stage at La Colmiane, the Briton seizing an opportunity as Sanchez waned.

Soler had started the day 37 seconds behind Yates in sixth overall, but took bonus seconds in an intermediate sprint and as he rolled over the finish line three seconds behind De la Cruz and Fraile.

The Izagirre brothers also looked like a potent combination, with Gorka perhaps only denied victory by their crash on the final descent, and proved that Bahrain-Merida have plenty of options beyond Vincenzo Nibali. "I'm getting closer. past year I lost (the Tour of Romandie) on the last day as well, by 20 seconds".


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