Paris-Nice – Win on Stage 2 for Greipel


Andre Greipel avenged his previous day’s disappointment with a copybook sprint victory in the second stage of Paris-Nice on Tuesday.

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Paris-Nice – Win on Stage 2 for Greipel

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 it was only good enough for second place. Greipel’s compatriot John Degenkolb was third and moved to the same spot overall, only two seconds behind yellow jersey holder Michal Kwiatkowski of Poland and Australia’s Rohan Dennis.

“Paris-Nice is a big race, every win is important, but a victory in a World Tour race is nice” said Greipel. “Yesterday everything went wrong and the whole team was keen to put that right today. The failure of Martin, Thomas and Boom caused another sprint preparation, but the reaction of Tony Gallopin and Tim Wellens, I was calm. We came to the front for more than three kilometers before the finish. Orica clearly had a plan, but we burrowed ourselves in their slipstream 800 meters before the finish”.

“I feared that Greg Henderson had gone too early with the head wind but I was able to take over and leave the rest of the peloton behind me. The goal of a stage victory was achieved by the team. Winning is never easy, but now we can relax a little more to look at the following stages. We have good spirits for tomorrow’s stage and goals later in Paris-Nice.”

The Stage
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 kilometre to quickly find 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. 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. While Gilbert and Hivert, helped by Laurens De Vrees (AST), tried to chase briefly, the peloton regained control at kilometre 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 holders on Paris-Nice.

Despite their brave attempt, the trio were quashed just as the red flame was in sight. 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 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.

Stage 2
1. André Greipel, Lotto Soudal 4:30:18
2. Arnaud Demare,
3. John Degenkolb, Team Giant-Alpecin
4. Michael Matthews, Orica GreenEdge
5. Jose Joaquin Rojas, Movistar Team
6. Nacer Bouhanni, Cofidis, Solutions Credits
7. Moreno Hofland, Team LottoNL-Jumbo
8. Alexander Kristoff, Team Katusha
9. Jonas Vangenechten, IAM Cycling
10. Niccolo Bonifazio, Lampre-Merida

17. Michal Kwiatkowski, Etixx – Quick-Step
20. Tony Martin, Etixx – Quick-Step
30. Daniel Mclay, Bretagne-Séché Environnement
33. Ben Swift, Team Sky
47. Geraint Thomas, Team Sky
57. Jack Bauer, Cannondale-Garmin Pro Cycling Team
80. Simon Yates, Orica GreenEdge
108. Nicolas Roche, Team Sky
142. Bradley Wiggins, Team Sky @27
146. Luke Rowe, Team Sky
1. Michal Kwiatkowski, Etixx – Quick-Step 9:53:16
2. Rohan Dennis, BMC Racing Team
3. John Degenkolb, Team Giant-Alpecin 0:00:02
4. Tony Martin, Etixx – Quick-Step 0:00:07
5. Michael Matthews, Orica GreenEdge 0:00:09

10. Geraint Thomas, Team Sky
15. Jack Bauer, Cannondale-Garmin Pro Cycling Team

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