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Paris – Nice 2015 Prologue

photo credit @ Paris-Nice

excerpts from Paris -Nice 

Road world champion Michal Kwiatkowski (EQS) showed he also had a huge talent against the clock when he upset most of the favourites to win the 6.7-km prologue of Paris-Nice and take the lead of the Race to the Sun in his first participation. The 24-year-old Polish rider outshone such riding machines as Australia’s Rohan Dennis (BMC), the hour world record holder, who finished inside the same second, or his team-mate Tony Martin, a three-times time trial world champion, who was seven seconds slower. Given the strength of his Etixx-Quick Step team, the man his director Wilfried Peeters describes as “the ideal rider for a one-week race” will be a difficult leader to dislodge. In any case his rivals are warned.

Van Baarle sets the tone

The first reference time was clocked by Dutchman Dylan Van Baarle (TCG), whose 8:04 stood for a while until a perfectly timed effort by Giacomo Nizzolo, who clocked 8:02, at exactly 50 kph. The Italian’s leading mark did not last very long as Portugal’s Tiago Machado, starting immediately behind him, upstaged him at just over eight minutes.

Dennis leads for an hour

The first real specialist in action was world hour record hold Rohan Dennis, who smashed Machado’s time by 20 seconds, at exactly the same average speed as his world mark of 52.4 kph. The only rider to come any close in the first half of the field was Spain’s Luis-Leon Sanchez, who finished ten seconds off the pace but showed he was back in promising form on a race he clinched in 2009.

Beware of Degenkolb and Matthews

Tom-Jalte Slagter (TCG), winner of two stages a year ago, also showed he had good legs by completing the course under the eight minute barrier, a feat also achieved by two leading sprinters, John Degenkolb (TGA) and Michael Matthews (OGE). Sixth and 8th respectively, they will be among the men to watch in the next couple of stages.

Porte slightly below-par

Arch-favourite Richie Porte, the 2013 winner, also rode under eight minutes but his 7:55 were not enough to secure a place in the top ten. The Australian time-trial champion finished 13th, almost in the same time as team-mate Bradley Wiggins, the world champion, who was never really in contention. Geraint Thomas was the best-placed rider of Team Sky in 10th, just ahead of American Tejay Van Garderen (BMC)

Talansky disappoints

Among the leading big names to have performed under par were American Andrew Talansky, Porte’s runner-up two years ago, who lost 25 seconds to Kwiatkowski. France’s Romain Bardet fared even worse, squandering 35 seconds on a course that did not suit him. Italian climber Fabio Aru (AST) will also have 33 seconds to recover on this week’s climbs.

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photo credit @ Twitter

Prologue Results
POL 1 KWIATKOWSKI, Michal (ETIXX – QUICK STEP) 7:40
AUS 2 DENNIS, Rohan (BMC RACING)
GER 3 MARTIN, Tony (ETIXX – QUICK STEP) + 7
ESP 4 SANCHEZ GIL, Luis Leon (ASTANA) + 10
NED 5 BOOM, Lars (ASTANA)
GER 6 DEGENKOLB, John (GIANT – ALPECIN)
FRA 7 CHAVANEL, Sylvain (IAM CYCLING)
AUS 8 MATTHEWS, Michael (ORICA GreenEDGE) + 12
NED 9 DUMOULIN, Tom (GIANT – ALPECIN) + 13
GBR 10 THOMAS, Geraint (SKY) + 14
USA 11 VAN GARDEREN, Tejay (BMC RACING)
GBR 12 WIGGINS, Bradley (SKY) + 15
AUS 13 PORTE, Richie (SKY)
NED 14 KELDERMAN, Wilco (LOTTO NL – JUMBO) + 16
NZL 15 BAUER, Jack (CANNONDALE – GARMIN)
ESP 16 PLAZA MOLINA, Ruben (LAMPRE – MERIDA)
NED 17 LANGEVELD, Sebastian (CANNONDALE – GARMIN) + 17
BEL 18 GILBERT, Philippe (BMC RACING)
ESP 19 IZAGUIRRE INSAUSTI, Gorka (MOVISTAR) + 18
FRA 20 GALLOPIN, Tony (LOTTO SOUDAL)
NED 21 SLAGTER, Tom Jelte (CANNONDALE – GARMIN)
LUX 22 JUNGELS, Bob (TREK FACTORY RACING) + 19
ESP 23 FERNANDEZ, Ruben (MOVISTAR) + 20
POR 24 MACHADO, Tiago (KATUSHA)
EST 25 TAARAMAE, Rein (ASTANA)

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