photo credits @ ASO
Dylan Groenewegen claimed the opening stage of this year’s Paris-Nice, after the Jumbo-Visma rider snatched the victory ahead of Caleb Ewan (Lotto-Soudal) during a thrilling sprint finale.
Meanwhile, Fabio Jakobsen (Deceuninck- Quick Step) rounded out the podium after finishing in third.
Amael Monard (Arkea-Samsic), Damien Gaudin (Direct Energie) and Romain Combaud (Delko Marseille Provence) marked the day’s first breakaway effort. But, strong winds and a determined peloton ultimately brought their efforts to a close with 40 kilometers remaining.
Soon after, new echelons formed with riders such as Louis Meintjes, Mark Cavendish (Dimension Data), Thomas De Gendt (Lotto Soudal), Marcel Kittel (Katusha-Alpecin), Sergio Henao (UAE Team Emirates), Simon Yates (Mitchelton-Scott) and Marc Soler (Movistar) finding themselves in purgatory after being distanced by the main field.
While Yates eventually bridged his way back to the peloton, Team Sky has busy working hard for Michal Kwiatkowski to grab the bonus points during the intermediate sprint with only 3 kilometer to go.
Soon after, Deceuninck-Quick-Step’s Philippe Gilbert launched an attack, subsequebelty opening up a slight gap.
However, the Belgian rider was quickly reined in during the last kilometer by the peloton-led Jumbo-Visma team, who was busy moving Groenewegen into position.
From there, the Dutch rider opened up his sprint behind Bora-hansgrohe’s Sam Bennett, while Ewan proceeded to mark his move.
But, there was no catching Groenewegen, who held-off his Australian rival by the narrowest of margins to seize the honors in the first stage of this year’s Race to the Sun.
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