Cycling: Wiggins retains lead in Paris-Nice

TEAM Sky’s Bradley Wiggins retained the leader’s yellow jersey after the third stage of the Paris-Nice race yesterday.

Wiggins defended his overnight advantage despite Alejandro Valverde (Movistar) claiming the stage win. The Spaniard held off the fast-finishing Simon Gerrans (GreenEDGE) on a deceptively tough uphill finish following a 194km trek from Vierzon to Le Lac de Vassiviere.

Team Sky sports director Sean Yates was pleased with the manner in which his team defended Wiggins’ lead, with closest challenger Levi Leipheimer still six seconds off the pace. Yates is, however, wary of Valverde who moved 20secs behind after his stage win. “The conditions were not as testing as yesterday. Obviously Bradley had the leader’s jersey and it was about defending that. The boys did that really well,” said Yates.

“Valverde took out the stage win, picked up a few bonus seconds and therefore got a bit closer [to the lead]. From Brad’s point of view and the form he’s shown here we know there’s a lot more to come. It’s a little scary how good he is at this time of year when you think about what he will be capable of in July. Stage four should be pretty similar to today. We’ll keep defending the jersey. It’s quite a tough final. The risk is if Valverde takes another win and picks up some more bonus seconds.”