Paris-Nice – Stage 1 to Kristoff


Alexander Kristoff of Katusha has won stage 1 of ParisNice ahead of Bouhanni and Coquard, Boonen crashes out, Swifth 9th in bunch kick

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Paris-Nice – Stage 1 to Kristoff

Alexander Kristoff is the fastest sprinter in this Paris-Nice so far. The Norwegian surged in the finale to outgun his rivals and comfortably clinch the 196.5-km first stage of the Race to the Sun, his fifth victory of the season.

Kristoff was a little too fast for Frenchmen Nacer Bouhanni and Bryan Coquard, who had to be content with podium places on this long and sometimes sluggish ride marked by the crash of Tom Boonen, forced out of the race with what was a suspected broken collarbone but may just be a bruised shoulder. Prologue winner Michal Kwiatkowski retained his overall lead.


“I’m really happy. It’s my first stage win in Paris-Nice and this is my fourth time coming here. It’s a step-up for me. I was sitting in good position, but Degenkolb went early on the right side and I moved there behind Nacer Bouhanni. Later I started my sprint from Bouhanni’s wheel and was able to go in front and to take this victory. The race was really slow today and only the final kilometers were really fast. My teammates supported me in the final. I want to thank all the team, especially Viacheslav and Jacopo, they brought me in a perfect position for the sprint” – said team leader Alexander Kristoff.

Hivert takes KOM jersey

The race started without Frenchman Geoffrey Soupe (COF), regular lead-out man for Nacer Bouhanni, who gave up sick. With the only climb of the day, Cote de Bel Air, located only 3 kms after the start, action started from the gun and France’s Jonathan Hivert (BSE) was the quickest to tackle the ascent and take the four points on offer as well as the first polka-dot jersey in this edition. Hivert went on just long enough to win the first intermediate sprint (km 19) before being chased down at kilometre 33.

In the sprint, John Degenkolb (TGA) and Michael Matthews (OGE), the two best placed sprinters in the GC, made their ambitions clear by clinching one and two seconds respectively, to move within reach of the overall lead. Five kilometers after the junction, Hivert’s team-mate Anthony Delaplace surged in turn, only to be joined at kilometre 39 by Thomas Voeckler (EUC). The peloton, riding sluggishly, happily let them go and the pair held a lead of four minutes at kilometre 50. Their maximum lead reached 6:10 after 100 kms.

The chase, mostly led by Etixx Quick Step riders, played cat and mouse with the two escapees and went under the minute in front of the Chambord castle. Some 17 kms from the finish line, one of the main protagonists for a final sprint, Tom Boonen, crashed heavily and stayed on the tarmac. The second intermediate sprint was taken by Delaplace ahead of Vockler, Geraint Thomas (SKY) going for the third place.

The two escapees tried boldly to accelerate in the finale but the peloton, at once caught off-guard, reacted and reeled them in with 1.5 kms to go. The Orica Greenedge and Giant Alcepin trains took shape but there was nothing to do against Kristoff, who took Bouahnni’s wheel and surged in the last stretch to add new laurels to the ones collected in Qatar and Oman.

1. Alexander Kristoff, Team Katusha 5:15:18
2. Nacer Bouhanni, Cofidis, Solutions Credits
3. Bryan Coquard, Team Europcar
4. Heinrich Haussler, IAM Cycling
5. Giacomo Nizzolo, Trek Factory Racing

9. Ben Swift, Team Sky
10. Michael Matthews, Orica GreenEdge
15. John Degenkolb, Team Giant-Alpecin
19. André Greipel, Lotto Soudal
21. Michal Kwiatkowski, Etixx – Quick-Step
22. Geraint Thomas, Team Sky
33. Simon Yates, Orica GreenEdge
64. Jack Bauer, Cannondale-Garmin Pro Cycling Team
132. Daniel Mclay, Bretagne-Séché Environnement
135. Nicolas Roche, Team Sky
140. Bradley Wiggins, Team Sky
151. Luke Rowe, Team Sky 0:00:57

1. Michal Kwiatkowski, Etixx – Quick-Step

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