BREAKDOWN: Paris-Nice Pogačar VS Tirreno Roglič – 11 Takeaways

Ten +1 Takeaways: As the two spring stage races, Paris-Nice and Tirreno-Adriatico, come to their climax, Spencer Martin gives us his ‘Eleven Takeaways’ looking forward to the coming races.

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Watch the most comprehensive live & ad-free coverage of Paris-Nice and Tirreno-Adriatico 2022 on GCN+. Go deeper and get interactive with live polls & quizzes, plus rider profiles, race updates, results & more – plus stream original and exclusive cycling documentaries. Watch it all with GCN+ on any device.

Better to keep Roglič and Pogačar apart… for the moment

The dueling stage races of Paris-Nice and Tirreno-Adriatico might have separated Tadej Pogačar and Primož Roglič, the two premier general classification talents of modern cycling, but there has still been plenty of exciting racing action on display from Jumbo-Visma’s throttling of the opening stages of Paris-Nice to the high-speed time trial duel between Filippo Ganna and Remco Evenepoel and pair of thrilling bunch sprints at Tirreno-Adriatico. Add in the fact that these have just been opening acts to what is shaping up to be thrilling GC battles in the mountains as we head into the weekend, and we have plenty of exciting racing to look forward to. Below is a guide distilling what we’ve learned so far and what to watch out for in the coming days.

Ganna didn’t disappoint in the Tirreno TT

What We’ve Learned so Far & What to Watch for Next:

Paris Nice

1) Jumbo-Visma is cycling’s new superteam.

  • Team UAE might have the sport’s hottest rider in Tadej Pogačar, but Jumbo is proving at Paris-Nice that nobody can match their collective strength.
  • After Wednesday’s fourth stage, the Dutch team has completed podium sweeps on 50% of the stages so far at the Paris-Nice.
  • This is absurd and combined with the fact that they currently have the top three spots in the overall classification shows just how much they have reinforced their squad during a successful transfer season.

Early domination from Jumbo-Visma in Paris-Nice

2) Strong teams are the new GC marginal gain.

  • While battles on for overall titles used to be fought mainly on the climbs and the time trials, Jumbo’s all-around team strength has allowed them to wedge open massive time gaps over their GC rivals on the flat opening stages of Paris-Nice.
  • This means that heading into the mountains, where they will likely only increase their time gaps, only two GC contenders, Simon Yates and Pierre Latour are within a minute of race-leader Wout van Aert in a stage race that is usually decided by just seconds.

Stage and overall for Wout in the Paris-Nice TT

3) Wout van Aert could be flying dangerously close to the sun.

  • The Belgian superstar skipped Saturday’s Strade Bianche to focus on a slower build-up to the Spring Classics. Considering Van Aert has entered the Classics flying only to fade into the later, higher-profile races, this appeared to be a solid plan.
  • But, if he is slowly building into the season, we’ve yet to see any evidence of that at Paris-Nice. He shredded the peloton along with teammate Christophe Laporte and Primož Roglič on stage 1, won the stage 4 time trial, and heads into the final half of a race with nearly a minute lead over the first rider who isn’t also a teammate, BikeExchange’s Simon Yates.
  • An overall win at Paris-Nice would signal yet another horizon the versatile rider has conquered, but it could also signal he will struggle to hold this white-hot form all the way to Paris-Roubaix on April 16th.

Final overall for Roglič?

4) Meanwhile, Primož Roglič is keeping things close to the chest.

  • While his countryman and Tour de France rival Tadej Pogačar has been lighting up the sport with a dominant overall victory at the UAE Tour and stunning solo win at Strade Bianche and Roglič is making a more subdued entry into the season.
  • But, even though the Slovenian grand tour GC star has yet to win a race in 2022, his performance in the stage 4 time trial at Paris-Nice made it clear that the Olympic time trial champion has once again come into the season with tip-top form.
  • If he can parlay this performance into an overall win on Sunday, it would be the perfect redemption for the 2021 edition, when he crashed hard on the final stage and lost a chance at his first career title at the prestigious race.

Is all good in the Jumbo house?

5) The intriguing internal Jumbo politics of Van Aert vs Roglič.

  • With Van Aert sitting ten seconds ahead of Roglič in the overall standings, the intrigue for the remainder of the race will see how Jumbo navigates this.
  • While we have three mountain stages ahead of us, including a summit finish on stage 7, there doesn’t appear to be any single climb where the other contenders could feasibly drop Van Aert.
  • Even if climbers like Adam Yates and Nairo Quintana attack, Van Aert has such a large time cushion at this point that he can simply sit back and ride his own (extremely high) tempo to keep them relatively close.
  • Roglič appears to be the only rider able to match Van Aert in terms of raw power and could most likely drop him on the summit finish but attacking your race-leading teammate is almost universally forbidden. And Roglič will want to avoid alienating Van Aert since he will want to build all the goodwill, he can in the hope that Van Aert will pay him back at the upcoming Tour de France.

The TT of his life, by Simon Yates

6) Simon Yates stays alive in the GC battle with the time trial ride of his life.

  • While most of the non-Jumbo pre-race favorites have found themselves over a minute down four stages into a race that is usually decided by only a handful of seconds, Simon Yates put in a career ride in the stage 4 time trial to finish only 11-seconds behind stage-winner Van Aert.
  • This puts the British rider only 49-seconds back on Van Aert and 39-seconds behind Roglič as they enter Yates’ preferred terrain of the mountains.
  • It might still be close to impossible for Yates to overcome both Van Aert and Roglič, but it does put him in a strong position to snag the third podium position, which would be a much-needed result for him and his BikeExchange team.

Ineos not at 100%


7) Ineos is still struggling to find its footing.

  • Meanwhile, at Strade Bianche, Paris-Nice, and Tirreno-Adriatico, the decline of Ineos, the team that formerly ruled the sport with an iron fist, is on display.
  • They had a respectable outing at Strade with Jhonatan Narváez finishing 7th place, and Filippo Ganna won the opening time trial at Tirreno with a dominant display and is currently leading the race overall, but with mountain stages looming over, it is looking increasingly likely they will walk away from the pair of stage races without an overall podium finish, which has only happened two other times over the last eleven seasons.

What’s with Carapaz?

8) It’s time to start worrying about Richard Carapaz.

  • While Ineos youngsters like Jhonatan Narváez and Carlos Rodríguez shined at Strade, their GC hopeful for the Giro d’Italia Richard Carapaz has continued to look completely void of anything resembling fitness at both Strade and Tirreno-Adriatico.
  • If he is going to be on good enough form to lead the team at the Giro, Ineos will need to see signs of life from him on Saturday’s difficult mountain stage.

Late attack from Pogačar on stage 3

9) The race for the overall will come down to Remco Evenepoel versus Tadej Pogačar.

  • With Ganna looking likely to fall down the GC rankings at Tirreno–Adriatico with punchy uphill finishes on stages 5 and 6, with a high mountain stage looming on Saturday’s stage 7, we are set to get the long-awaited Remco Evenepoel vs Tadej Pogačar head-to-head GC showdown.

Can Evenepoel take the lead?

10) If Evenepoel wants the overall win, he will finally have to beat a top-tier GC rider to win a stage race.

  • This showdown is long overdue and with the GC competition at Paris-Nice already locked up by Jumbo, should serve up the main entertainment for the rest of the week.
  • Despite winning eight stage races so far in his career, Evenepoel has never had to beat a rider who has one a grand tour at any point in their career and only one with a grand tour podium (Mikel Landa). will have to beat a top tier rider to win a one-week stage race.

Is Pogačar the best?

11) Tadej Pogačar is the best bike racer in the world.

The next Merckx… already?

# Spencer Martin is the author of the cycling-analysis newsletter Beyond the Peloton that breaks down the nuances of each race and answers big picture questions surrounding team and rider performance. Sign up now to get full access to all the available content and race breakdowns. #

Watch the most comprehensive live & ad-free coverage of Paris-Nice and Tirreno-Adriatico 2022 on GCN+. Go deeper and get interactive with live polls & quizzes, plus rider profiles, race updates, results & more – plus stream original and exclusive cycling documentaries. Watch it all with GCN+ on any device.

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