Ryan Mullen has opportunity to test time-trial form at Paris-Nice

Irish national champion admits he’s not firing on all cylinders yet

Norwegian rider Mads Pedersen of Trek Segafredo leads the sprint to win the third stage of the 80th edition of the Paris-Nice cycling race over 191km between Vierzon and Dun-le-Palestel. Photograph: Yoan Valat/EPA

Irish national champion Ryan Mullen has an opportunity to test his time-trial condition on Wednesday's fourth stage of Paris-Nice, with the riders facing a 13.4 kilometre course from Domérat to Montluçon.

Mullen's main role this season is to act as a leadout rider for fellow Irishman Sam Bennett, but he will also be aiming to chase time-trial results when he is given a green light to do so.

“I’m not time-trial fit yet,” Mullen told The Irish Times on Tuesday. “I’ll go all-in for the training effect, but my numbers are not where they need to be just yet. They’re coming. I’m just not firing on all cylinders yet.

“I had a setback over the winter so I’m missing about one month of quality time-trial work.”


Tuesday’s third stage of the race took the riders 190.8 kilometres from Vierzon to Dun-le-Palestel and featured a hilly profile. There were three categorised climbs plus a number of other peaks and, as expected, neither Mullen nor Bennett featured.

The stage was won in an uphill sprint by former world champion Mads Pedersen (Trek-Segafredo). He beat Bryan Coquard (Cofidis), Wout Van Aert (Jumbo-Visma) and the rest of main peloton to the line.

Overnight race leader Christophe Laporte (Jumbo-Visma) crashed inside the final kilometre and finished over a minute and a half behind but, as per UCI rules governing incidents inside the last three kilometres, was given the same time as the main bunch.

He leads team-mate Van Aert by one second overall. Another Jumbo-Visma rider, Primoz Roglic, is a further eight seconds back and is the big favourite for the general classification. As one of the strongest time-trialists in the peloton, he is likely to take over the race lead on Wednesday.

Paris-Nice Stage 3 results

Vierzon to Dun-le-Palestel: 1 Mads Pedersen (Trek-Segafredo) 190.8 kilometres in 4 hours 23.29, 2 B Coquard (Cofidis), 3 W Van Aert (Jumbo-Visma), 4 J Philipsen (Alpecin-Fenix), 5 A Turgis (TotalEnergies) all same time

Irish: 102 R Mullen (Bora-Hansgrohe) at 5.46, 137 S Bennett (Bora-Hansgrohe) at 11.15.

General classification after stage 3: 1 Christophe Laporte (Jumbo-Visma) 11 hours 34.44, 2 W Van Aert (Jumbo-Visma) at 1 sec, 3 P Roglic (Jumbo-Visma) at 9 secs, 4 M Pedersen (Trek-Segafredo) at 29 secs, 5 B Coquard (Cofidis) at 33 secs

Irish: 76 R Mullen (Bora-Hansgrohe) at 8.33, 99 S Bennett (Bora-Hansgrohe) 13.36.