Paris-Nice: Stage win to Nacer Bouhanni


The first stage of the 2014 Paris-Nice saw a sprinter in Nacer Bouhanni recover from a crash to win on a day of ‘chutes’ and splits

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Paris-Nice: Stage win to Nacer Bouhanni

NacerBouhanni _Paris-NiceStage1

ASO Press Release

Nacer Bouhanni has an eventful relationship with Paris-Nice. Last year, the FDJ ace sprinter crashed out of the race on the third day with the leader’s jersey on his back after winning the first stage.

On Sunday by the banks of the Seine, he crashed and spent some time with the race doctor along the 162-kms of the circuit stage of the day before surging to outsprint the rest of the field on the line in Mantes-la-Jolie ahead of Germany’s John Degenkolb and Belgium’s Gianni Meersman. On sheer class, the former French champion claimed back the yellow garment, hoping to be luckier this time and especially in Monday’s 205-kms second stage between Rambouillet and St Georges-sur-Baulche in Burgundy.

Laborie from the gun

The start was given at 11:58 to 168 riders. France’s Christophe Laborie (BSE) was the first in action, attacking on the gun to seek the first polka dot jersey in this edition. His lead grew steadily and reached 10:45 after 23 kms.

The teams with sprinters – Giant Shimano, Orica Greenedge or FDJ – raised the tempo a bit and the lead kept going down (9:00 after 50 kms). While Laborie was effectively first at the top of the Cote de Vert (km 40.5), he also led the first intermediate sprint (km 63) ahead of Gianni Meersman (OPQ) and Geraint Thomas (SKY).

Van Garderen out
After 66 kms, Bouhanni crashed and had to be treated several times for a bruised left knee. A few kilometers later, pre-race favourite Tejay van Garderen called it quits, citing stomach problems, as several crashes took place within the bunch, none really serious.

Laborie was again first on the second ascent of the Cote de Vert to secure the polka-dot jersey and then relaxed to let the peloton back. The junction took place with 50 kms to go. In the second sprint of the day, Meersman collected three more seconds, ahead of Greg van Avermaet (BMC) and Sylvain Chavanel (IAM).

Pile-up and splits
A pile-up after 136 kilometers involved several team leaders, including Romain Bardet (ALM) and Andy Schleck (TFR). The peloton split as a result and Simon Gerrans (OGE) or Thomas Voeckler (EUC) were also unable to remain in the front bunch.

On the line, this group, including Bardet, Gerrans, Voeckler, Eduardo Sepulveda (BSE), Edvald Boasson-Hagen (SKY) and Lieuwe Westra (AST) had lost 1:09 on the leading pack and probably their chances to feature on the final podium in Nice. As for Andy Schleck, he was even further down, trailing Bouhanni by 1:50 on the line.

Bouhanni bruised but victorious
While the race for the GC was taking its first twist of the week, the sprint was taking shape and John Degenkolb looked ideally placed as his Giant Shimano team-mates led the way for most of the finale. Given his crash and bruises, Bouhanni was perhaps overlooked a bit but there was nothing his rivals could do when he surged in the last stretch to win with impressive authority and claim back the yellow jersey he so tragically lost a year ago.

“This is an incredible day” said Nacer after a heavy fall on the left knee. “Each turn of the pedals was hurting me. I went several times to the medical car while my teammates supported me, that was great for morale. I was remembering the championship of France that I won in Saint-Amand-les-Eaux after falling. I said to Sebastien Chavanel I would win and that I felt good.”

“In the end, I focused on my sprint on adrenaline. 300 meters from the line, I’m shoulder to shoulder with Degenkolb, I keep my place and this is where I earn my sprint! I took the lead 200 meters to go and I lift my arms, I’m really happy.”

The team did a great job to put me in the right place. All day it’s been very nervous, it did not stop but I knew I was in good condition. Admittedly, I did not win the Tour of Oman or Samyn but I prepared for Paris-Nice and Milan-San Remo. I have a bad knee and it worries me a little but I’ll hang on … ”

1 BOUHANNI Nacer 03:53:11
2 DEGENKOLB John Team Giant-Shimano
3 MEERSMAN Gianni Omega Pharma – Quick-Step
4 ROJAS José Joaquin Movistar Team
5 FARRAR Tyler Garmin Sharp
6 COQUARD Bryan Team Europcar
7 WACKERMANN Luca Lampre – Merida
8 FELLINE Fabio Trek Factory Racing
9 SABATINI Fabio Cannondale
10 GAVAZZI Francesco Astana Pro Team
11 HAYMAN Mathew Orica GreenEDGE
12 LEMOINE Cyril Cofidis, Solutions Crédits
13 FAVILLI Elia Lampre – Merida
14 ZINGLE Romain Cofidis, Solutions Crédits
15 STEEGMANS Gert Omega Pharma – Quick-Step
16 THOMAS Geraint Team Sky
17 VAN AVERMAET Greg BMC Racing Team
18 TRUSOV Nikolay Tinkoff-Saxo
19 KRISTOFF Alexander Team Katusha
20 FEILLU Romain Bretagne РS̩ch̩ Environnement
21 BOOM Lars Belkin-Pro Cycling Team
28 TERPSTRA Niki Omega Pharma – Quick-Step
29 STYBAR Zdenek Omega Pharma – Quick-Step
30 BOONEN Tom Omega Pharma – Quick-Step
32 COSTA Rui Lampre – Merida
35 NIBALI Vincenzo Astana Pro Team
42 CHAVANEL Sylvain IAM Cycling
51 BAK Lars Ytting Lotto Belisol
71 YATES Simon Orica GreenEDGE
109 BOASSON HAGEN Edvald Team Sky @1.09
112 GOSS Matthew Orica GreenEDGE
126 VOECKLER Thomas Team Europcar
127 ROWE Luke Team Sky
130 HUSHOVD Thor BMC Racing Team
131 GERRANS Simon Orica GreenEDGE
133 PHINNEY Taylor BMC Racing Team
135 SCHLECK Fränk Trek Factory Racing
156 CUMMINGS Stephen BMC Racing Team
















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