NICE, France (AP) — Marc Soler of Spain won the weeklong Paris-Nice race after dislodging overnight leader Simon Yates of Britain with a successful attack in the final stage on Sunday.
Soler, who rides for Movistar and trailed his British rival by 37 seconds ahead of the eighth and final stage in the Nice hinterland, claimed his biggest career win by just four seconds.
“It’s really a dream come true to win Paris-Nice and add my name to the winners’ list next to some of the greats of cycling,” Soler said. “I’m progressing each year and I’m getting used to ride at that level. I’m progressing step by step.”
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.
Yates found himself isolated at the back and the trio built a maximum lead of 1 minute and 30 seconds. Soler collected bonus seconds in the second intermediate sprint at La Turbie before Fraile unsuccessfully tried to go solo in the descent of Col d’Eze.
De La Cruz won the stage ahead of Fraile, with Soler crossing the finish line three seconds back on the Promenade des Anglais.
Yates ended the stage in sixth place and finished runner-up in the general classification ahead of Gorka Izagirre.
“I was just empty in the finale there,” said Yates, who had taken the leader’s jersey after winning the previous stage. “I’m getting closer. Last year I lost (the Tour of Romandie) on the last day as well, by 20 seconds. And now I lost Paris-Nice by four seconds. Hopefully I can improve and work hard and I take the top spot. Today a great rider won.”