Betancur triumphs in Paris-Nice

Carlos Betancur (AFP Photo)
Carlos Betancur (AFP Photo)

Nice - Carlos Betancur became the first Colombian cyclist to win the Paris-Nice race on Sunday following the eighth and final stage.

French champion Arthur Vichot won the stage, raced along the celebrated Promenade des Anglais, which saw several riders, including Portugal's road race world champion Rui Costa, lose their chance of victory in the stage in a pile-up 300 metres from the finish.

Costa was able to remount and cycle gingerly to the finishing line of the 'Race to the Sun' to finish second overall.

Betancur, 24, was winning his first stage race at WorldTour level, although he finished an impressive fifth in last year's Tour of Italy.

"I have received great support from my team-mates while I have held the overall lead," said Betancur, who won two stages during the week.

Betancur, who rides for the French AG2R team, kept a keen eye on Costa throughout the final stage as the Portuguese rider was only 14sec behind him in the overall standings.

The only anxious moment he had vis a vis his main rival was when Costa tried to steal a march on him on the Col d'Eze, the final climb of the stage, but he and his team -- the first French team to have the winner of the race since Swiss rider Tony Rominger won in 1991 -- reeled him in without any great difficulty.

Results and standings of Sunday's 128km eighth and final stage of the Paris-Nice cycling race around Nice:


1. Arthur Vichot (FRA/ 3hr 06min 56sec (average: 41.1 km/h), 2. Jose Joaquin Rojas (ESP/MOV) s.t., 3. Cyril Gautier (FRA/EUC) s.t., 4. Damiano Caruso (ITA/CAN) s.t., 5. Wilco Kelderman (NED/BKN) s.t., 6. Frank Schleck (LUX/TRE) s.t., 7. Tom-Jelte Slagter (NED/GRM) s.t., 8. Carlos Betancur (COL/ALM) s.t., 9. George Bennett (NZL/CAN) s.t., 10. Eduardo Sepulveda (ARG/BSE) s.t.

Final overall standings

1. Carlos Betancur (COL/ALM) 35hr 11min 45sec, 2. Rui Costa (POR/LAM) at 0:14sec, 3. Arthur Vichot (FRA/FDJ) 0:20, 4. Jose Joaquin Rojas (ESP/MOV) 0:21, 5. Jakob Fuglsang (DEN/AST) 0:29, 6. Cyril Gautier (FRA/EUC) 0:31, 7. Stefan Denifl (AUT/IAM) 0:35, 8. Simon Spilak (SLO/KAT) 0:36, 9. Peter Velits (SVK/BMC) 0:39, 10. Tony Gallopin (FRA/LTB) 0:41

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