photo credit @ Paris – Nice
Revenge win for Greipel
excerpts from Paris – Nice
Andre Greipel avenged his previous day’s disappointment with a copybook sprint victory in the second stage of Paris-Nice on Tuesday. The German champion, who had never previously raised his arms on the Race to the Sun, was perfectly led out in the finale to St Amand-Montornd by his Lotto-Soudal team-mate Greg Henderson and never really looked in danger. French champion Arnaud Demare launched a brave effort in the last stretch but its was only good enough for second place. Greipel’s compatriot John Degenkolb was third and moved to second overall, only two seconds behind yellow jersey holder Michal Kwiatkowski of Poland.
Minute of silence
The Paris-Nice peloton held a minute of silence at the start of the stage in memory of the ten persons, including three French athletes, killed in a helicopter crash in Argentina on Monday.
Arnaud Gerard (BSE) surged after one kilometer to quickly fin himself on his own. The Frenchman timed his effort and held a maximum lead of 8:25 (km 54) over a peloton obviously happy to wait for the finale at a leisurely pace. The first intermediate sprint of the day (km 57.5) enabled Alexander Kristoff to grab two seconds and two points while John Degenkolb collected one second. As a a result, the Norwegian secured the points green jersey.
Degenkolb and Hivert collect
The bunch almost made it back on Gerard’s heels for the second intermediate sprint in St Amand Montrond (Km 127.5) which saw Degenkolb pick two more seconds while Michael Matthews (OGE) took one. On the only climb of the day, Cote de la Tour (Km 131), Gerard led the peloton by 35 seconds, ahead of Philippe Gilbert (BMC) and KOM leader Jonathan Hivert (BSE), who narrowly retained his polka-dot jersey.
Three former leaders
While Gilbert and Hivert, helped by Laurens De Vrees (AST), tried to chase briefly, the pack regained control at kilometer 135 as the race regrouped. Gerard had remained 134 km alone in front. As the peloton was now gearing up for the final sprint, Bryan Coquard (EUC), third yesterday, was briefly halted by a mechanical (km 160). As the sprinters were holding their breath, Tony Martin (EQS) surged, quickly followed by two other strong finishers, Geraint Thomas (SKY) and Lars Boom (AST), three former yellow jersey holder on Paris-Nice. Despite their brave attempt, the trio were quashed just as the red flame was in sight.
Perfect lead-out for Greipel
The stage was set for another bunch sprint and the Lotto-Soudal team-mates of Greipel, who had perfectly organised the chase, were fastest in action. Ideally placed in the last stretch, Greg Henderson perfectly launched his leader, who delivered for his second win of the season after a stage in the Tour of Algarve. Wednesday’s third stage to St Pourcain-sur-Sioule should again be ideal terrain for a mass sprint.
photo credit @ Twitter
Stage 2 Results
GER 1 GREIPEL, André (LOTTO SOUDAL) 4:30:18
FRA 2 DEMARE, Arnaud (FDJ)
GER 3 DEGENKOLB, John (GIANT – ALPECIN)
AUS 4 MATTHEWS, Michael (ORICA GreenEDGE)
ESP 5 ROJAS GIL, Jose Joaquin (MOVISTAR)
FRA 6 BOUHANNI, Nacer (COFIDIS, SOLUTIONS CREDITS)
NED 7 HOFLAND, Moreno (LOTTO NL – JUMBO)
NOR 8 KRISTOFF, Alexander (KATUSHA)
BEL 9 VANGENECHTEN, Jonas (IAM CYCLING)
ITA 10 BONIFAZIO, Niccolo (LAMPRE – MERIDA)
General Classification after Stage 2
POL 1 KWIATKOWSKI, Michal (ETIXX – QUICK STEP) 9:53:16
AUS 2 DENNIS, Rohan (BMC RACING)
GER 3 DEGENKOLB, John (GIANT – ALPECIN) + 2
GER 4 MARTIN, Tony (ETIXX – QUICK STEP) + 7
AUS 5 MATTHEWS, Michael (ORICA GreenEDGE) + 9
ESP 6 SANCHEZ GIL, Luis Leon (ASTANA) + 10
NED 7 BOOM, Lars (ASTANA)
FRA 8 CHAVANEL, Sylvain (IAM CYCLING)
NED 9 DUMOULIN, Tom (GIANT – ALPECIN) + 13
GBR 10 THOMAS, Geraint (SKY)
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