Favourite Roglic shaping up well in early stages of Paris-Nice

Slovenian claims second spot in fourth stage time trial to consolidate lead over main rivals

Race favourite Primoz Roglic had a strong showing on Wednesday’s fourth stage of Paris-Nice in France, netting second in the undulating time trial to Montluçon and consolidating his advantage over his main rivals in the general classification.

Jumbo-Visma teammate Wout Van Aert was best over the 13.4 kilometre distance, completing the distance two seconds faster than Roglic and overtaking another teammate Christophe Laporte for the race lead.

While Van Aert is in strong form and is now ten seconds clear of Roglic overall, the latter is seen as likely to move into the yellow jersey on the hillier terrain remaining before the race end on Sunday.

However rivals such as Simon Yates (BikeExchange-Jayco), who had an unexpectedly strong ride on Wednesday in finishing fifth, will hope to disrupt those plans.


Irish champion Ryan Mullen had said before the stage that he was about a month off strong time trial form, but wanted to dig deep in order to gauge where he is at. He ultimately finished 65th, one minute and 26 seconds behind Van Aert. Sam Bennett was a further 59 seconds behind.

Paris-Nice continues on Thursday with a hilly 188.8 kilometre race from Saint-Just-Saint-Rambert to Saint-Sauveur-de-Montagut.

In other news, young Irish rider Archie Ryan has been selected by his Jumbo-Visma Academy team to compete in the Istrian Spring Trophy stage race, starting Thursday and running until Sunday.

“I was reserve for the race but due to an injury of another rider I’m starting the stage race,” Ryan told the Irish Times on Wednesday.

“The aims of the race are to defend the general classification which we won here last year. We have a number of guys who can do well overall so it’s going to be good fun.”

Ryan only competed on four days in 2021 due to a knee injury, and has previously said it will take time to get back up to speed. His goal is to help his teammates and to continue building form.

“I’m in mainly a support role. I’m not the leader at this race. However the stages aren’t so difficult so I shouldn’t be so far behind in the general classification.”

Irish junior road race and time trial champion Darren Rafferty is also taking part. Like Ryan, he competed in the recent Trofeo Umag and Trofeo Porec and will now continue with another Croatian event. He is in his first season with the Hagens Berman Axeon team.

The Istrian Spring Trophy race begins on Thursday with a flat 1.5 kilometre prologue in Vrsar. The remaining three stages are over undulating terrain.

Paris-Nice, France (WorldTour)

Stage 4 time trial, Domérat to Montluçon: 1 Wout Van Aert (Jumbo-Visma)

13.4 kilometres in 16’20”, 2 P Roglic (Jumbo-Visma) 2”, 3 R Dennis

(Jumbo-Visma) 6”, 4 S Küng (Groupama-FDJ) 10”, 5 S Yates

(BikeExchange-Jayco) 11”

Irish: 65 R Mullen (Bora-Hansgrohe) 1'26", 119 S Bennett

(Bora-Hansgrohe) 2’25”

General classification after stage 4: 1 Wout Van Aert (Jumbo-Visma) 11 hours 51'05", 2 P Roglic (Jumbo-Visma) 10", 3 C Laporte (Jumbo-Visma) 28", 4 S Yates (BikeExchange-Jayco) 49", 5 P Latour (TotalEnergies) 51"

Irish: 74 R Mullen (Bora-Hansgrohe) 9'58", 101 S Bennett

(Bora-Hansgrohe) 16’

Shane Stokes

Shane Stokes

Shane Stokes is a contributor to The Irish Times writing about cycling