Primoz Roglic strengthens grip with Paris-Nice stage win

Archie Ryan takes sixth place on stage two of the Istrian Spring Trophy in Croatia

Overnight race leader Primoz Roglic reaffirmed his superiority at Paris-Nice on Saturday, winning the penultimate stage atop the Col de Turini. The Slovenian Jumbo-Visma rider outsprinted Daniel Martinez (Ineos Grenadiers) to take the victory, two seconds ahead of his main general classification rider Simon Yates (BikeExchange-Jayco).

Roglic is now 47 seconds clear of Yates with one stage remaining, and looks set to win the race for the first time in his career. He had been poised to win overall last year but crashed twice on the final stage, dislocating his shoulder and finishing well back.

Ireland's Ryan Mullen (Bora-hansgrohe) was involved in the day's long distance breakaway but was eventually reeled in before the final battle among the general classification contenders. He and Sam Bennett rolled in as part of a large group 26 minutes behind.

In Croatia, Archie Ryan showed fine early season form in finishing sixth on stage two of the Istrian Spring Trophy. The 175-kilometre stage finished at the top of a three and a half kilometre climb in Motovun and was won by Alex Baudin (Swiss Racing Academy).

Ryan was nine seconds back, while fellow Irish rider Darren Rafferty (Hagens Berman Axeon) was 31st, 55 seconds behind. He and the team have been riding in support of Matthew Riccitello, who took over the general classification lead on Saturday's stage.

Ryan has recently returned to racing after almost a full year out of competition. He has fully recovered from a knee problem and while he said prior to the race that he was still building racing form and would be riding for his Jumbo-Visma Development team-mates, he is now best-placed of the team overall. He is eighth, 38 seconds behind Riccitello. He is also sixth in the best young rider standings.

Rafferty is 35th overall and 24th in the best young rider competition. He is fifth in the points classification.

The race concludes on Sunday with a stage to Umag.

Paris-Nice

Stage 7, Nice to Col de Turini: 1 Primoz Roglic (Jumbo-Visma) 155.2 kilometres in 4:02.47, 2 D Martinez Poveda (Ineos Grenadiers) same time, 3 S Yates (BikeExchange-Jayco) @ 2 secs, 4 N Quintana (Arkea-Samsic) @ 9 secs, 5 J Almeida (UAE Team Emirates) @ 11 secs.

Irish: 90 S Bennett (Bora-Hansgrohe) @26.02 92 R Mullen (Bora-Hansgrohe) same time.

General classification after stage 7: 1 Primoz Roglic (Jumbo-Visma) 26:26.11, 2 S Yates (BikeExchange-Jayco) @ 47 secs, 3 D Martinez Poveda (Ineos Grenadiers) @ 1 min, 4 A Yates (Ineos Grenadiers) @ 1.50 5 N Quintana (Arkea-Samsic) @2.04.

Irish: 84 R Mullen (Bora-Hansgrohe) 1:10.02, 87 S Bennett

(Bora-Hansgrohe) @ 1:16.04.

Istrian Spring Trophy Croatia (2.2)

Stage 2, Novigrad to Motovun: 1 Alex Baudin (Swiss Racing Academy) 175

kilometres in 4:09.49, 2 M López (Astana Qazaqstan Development)

@ 4 secs, 3 F Christen (EF Education-Nippo Development), 4 Y Voisard (Swiss Racing Academy), 5 F Engelhardt (Tirol KTM Cycling Team) all same time.

Irish: 6 A Ryan (Jumbo-Visma Development Team) @ 9 secs, 31 D Rafferty (Hagens Berman Axeon) @ 55 secs.

General classification: 1 Matthew Riccitello (Hagens Berman Axeon) 7:45.29, 2 A Baudin (Swiss Racing Academy) @ 15 secs, 3 F Christen (EF

Education-NIPPO Development) @ 23 secs, 4 S Flynn (Swiss Racing Academy) @ 25 secs, 5 Y Voisard (Swiss Racing Academy) @ 31 secs.

Irish: 8 A Ryan (Jumbo-Visma Development Team) @ 38 secs, 35 D Rafferty

(Hagens Berman Axeon) @ 1.26

Young rider: 1 Matthew Riccitello (Hagens Berman Axeon) 7:45.29,

2 A Baudin (Swiss Racing Academy) @ 15 secs, 3 F Christen (EF Education-Nippo Development) @ 23 secs, 4 S Flynn (Swiss Racing Academy) @ 25 secs, 5 A Charrin (Swiss Racing Academy) @ 38” secs.

Irish: 6 A Ryan (Jumbo-Visma Development Team) @ 38 secs, 24 D Rafferty

(Hagens Berman Axeon) @ 1.26.

Points: 1 Matthew Riccitello (Hagens Berman Axeon) 8, 2 W Berehe (EF

Education-NIPPO Development) 6, 3 M López (Astana Qazaqstan Development) 5.

Irish: 5 D Rafferty (Hagens Berman Axeon) 3.

Team: 1 Swiss Racing Academy 23:17.17, 2 Astana Qazaqstan Development @ 1.33, 3 Jumbo-Visma Development Team @ 1.38, 4 Hagens Berman Axeon @ 1.46.