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Sleepless Jorgenson savours ‘special’ Paris-Nice victory

Up-and-coming American rider Matteo Jorgenson shrugged off a sleepless night to win cycling’s Paris-Nice on Sunday as the eight-day event culminated on the Riviera seafront along the iconic Promenade des Anglais.

Jorgenson started the final day of racing around the mountainous Nice backcountry in second behind fellow American Brandon McNulty.

McNulty ran out of steam however when Belgian Remco Evenepoel and Jorgenson broke away in the cold and rain on a mountainside.

The 24-year-old Jorgenson, who lives in Nice, allowed Evenepoel to take the stage win, celebrating the overall title as he crossed the line just behind him.

“I could barely sleep last night. I was so nervous and I felt pressure for the first time in my life,” said the Californian. 

“To have it come together like that and to ride in with such a champion like Remco, it was just a really special moment.”

Jorgenson joined World Tour giant Visma this season. His teammates Jonas Vingegaard, the Tour de France champion, and Wout van Aert are considered by many the best Grand Tour rider and best one-day competitor in road racing.

“I need to keep my feet on the ground,” said Jorgenson, I’m no Jonas Vingegaard,” he said.

Paris-Nice is his first major outing in Visma colours, a team that won all three Grand Tours last season.

Two other Americans in Bobby Julich (2005) and Floyd Landis (2006) have previously won Paris-Nice known as the ‘Race to the Sun’.

“I’m left with a bitter-sweet feeling,” said UAE’s McNulty. “If you had offered me the podium coming in I’d have taken it, but I had the yellow jersey and it’s tough to see it go.”

Jorgenson took the title by 30 seconds from Evenepoel, due in part to a tactical error from the Belgian on stage five when he under-estimated the American, allowing his attack to go undefended and losing around one minute to him that day.

“Matteo is the deserved winner of this race,” Evenepoel said afterwards.

“I was the only one who could keep up with him so I’m happy with the result too.”

“To be honest I came here really with one eye on the Tour de France, which ends here this summer,” said Evenepoel.

Saturday’s stage winner, the Russian Bora rider Alexandr Vlasov, was third on the day at 50sec while Dane Mattias Skjelmose and McNulty rounded out the top five at 1min 39sec.

In the final overall standings Jorgenson beat Evenepoel by 30sec, McNulty was third at 1min 47sec, Skjelmose fourth at 2min 22sec and Vlasov fifth at 2min 57sec.

Former Giro and Vuelta winner Primoz Roglic of Slovenia, on his first outing in Bora colours, had a race to forget ending in 10th at 5min 53sec.

On the comeback trail from life-threatening injuries, former Tour de France and Giro champion Egan Bernal showed glimpses of a return to form and ended in seventh place at 5min 33sec. 

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