Paris Nice: Stage 2

Team DSM opened their winning account for the 2021 season, with Cees Bol sprinting to victory on stage 2 of Paris-Nice; Michael Matthews leads overall

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Paris Nice: Stage 2

Team DSM Press Release

Team DSM opened their winning account for the 2021 season, with Cees Bol producing a dominant sprint victory on stage 2 of Paris-Nice. On a day fret with crosswind danger, the team remained calm throughout the stage, always alert for any possible danger before turning their attention and focus on the sprint.

Pic: Getty Images

Arriving with a plan and peeling off one-by-one in the finale, through the twisting and technical run in to the line, the team ensured Bol was in the perfect position. Opening up his sprint at the perfect moment, Bol powered across the line clear of his rivals, raising his arms aloft victorious, after a brilliant performance from the team.

The Stage
Racing resumed at Paris-Nice as the peloton continued to head south towards Nice with a mostly flat 188 kilometres from Oinville-sur-Montcient to Amilly on the menu. It was a tentative start to the stage before a breakaway duo attacked and broke clear, gaining a maximum of over five minutes. Things were controlled in the bunch and the gap to the breakaway began to fall before it soon tumbled quickly with 90 kilometres to go as the race reached a crosswind section.

The bunch split into pieces, with team DSM well represented in the front group before a change in direction saw things come back together. The process repeated itself with 70 kilometres to go, this time with team DSM driving the pace, but yet again the race regrouped and things calmed down. The peloton continued on at a steady tempo, as the kilometres ticked by and the bunch approached the finale.

Heading into the finish, the team did an excellent job to position sprinter Cees Bol for the finale, learning from yesterday and taking those improvement points into the finish. Tiesj Benoot strung things out on a hill just inside the flamme rouge with the Team DSM sprint train tucked in behind him. Nils Eekhoff took over on the descent, positioning Bol perfectly into the sharp final corner, allowing him to take the inside line and not be boxed in. It was then over to Bol who produced his trademark powerful kick, stamping on the pedals and taking the win; perfectly finishing off the great work from the team throughout the day.

Cees Bol: “It’s the best feeling there is,” smiled a jubilant Bol at the finish. “I had a bit of a struggle at the start of the season and wasn’t too good until now but we kept believing and today I got superb help from my teammates. We smashed it. We went well through the last corner, and were close to being boxed in but Nils recognised the moment and kept the door open for me and from there I was on a good wheel. Trek did a good lead out but I started my sprint at the right moment and had enough power to make it to the line. It’s a good boost for the confidence after we didn’t do too well yesterday but today we showed what we’re capable of as a team. It gives us confidence for the next sprint stages but also for on other days where we’ve got chances with other guys in the team.”

Sam Bennett: Sam Bennett swapped the Paris-Nice yellow jersey for the green one after sprinting to a top 5 in Amilly in a bunch sprint, a messy one, due to the numerous roundabouts, narrow roads and sharp corners that the riders had to navigate inside the closing kilometers. “It was a crazy finale and I just couldn’t get to the front. Then, after the last corner I was waiting and waiting, but it turns out I waited too much and the line came quicker than expected. I sprinted from too far back and couldn’t fight for victory, which is a shame, as the legs were there. The team was good again, we are confident and we’ll try again over the next days”, Sam said after the podium ceremony.

Michael Matthews: Australian Michael Matthews moved into the race lead at Paris-Nice today after powering to third place and accumulating valuable bonus seconds throughout the stage. Like yesterday’s opening stage, the 30-year-old Team BikeExchange rider fought hard to take an additional five bonus seconds during the two intermediate sprints of the day, after the early breakaway was reeled back in. With the help of his teammates, Matthews positioned himself fifth wheel coming out of the final corner and bided his time before launching his sprint for third place, successfully claiming four more crucial seconds. This proved to be enough for the Australian rider to leapfrog Mads Pedersen (Trek-Segafredo) and Sam Bennet (Deceuninck-Quickstep) to move into the overall race lead.

Photo ASO/Fabien Boukla

“I came here to try everything I could. With the breakaways not really going, it gave us opportunities to go for the intermediate sprints, take seconds back and take the jersey. I knew I wasn’t the fastest guy here so I tried to position well and sprint as best I could and, in the end, today I was third. There was time bonuses for the third place and so I got it and will get to wear it tomorrow in the time trial.”

“It is nice that the hard work from the last two days pays off and I can pull on the yellow jersey for the team. The team were positioning me all day to make sure I could get up for all the intermediate sprint and also for the final sprint, so it is a really good day for us. To be wearing the jersey at least for one-day, I am really looking forward to that. It is amazing, everybody is fully committed to the plan and I am just trying to execute it as best I can and I will try my best with every opportunity, I get to pay them back”.

“I haven’t done a time trial yet (this season), everything has been going well with my time trial training so hopefully I do a good TT tomorrow and continue with the jersey.”

Pascal Ackermann (Bora Hansgrohe) “Everyone in the team worked very cohesively today and we were well positioned before the final. However, we were just unlucky with the crash around 1000m ahead of the finish. That was a pity because I’m in good shape and our lead-out is getting better and better. But things like that happen in racing, and there’s not much you can do. Now we’re hoping to get a strong result when we next get a chance.”

Mads Pedersen: The 2019 world champion “They (his team) have done a good job. I can’t complain about the boys’ work today. It was a special stage (threat from winds and no big leading breakaway) but everyone did their job in the final phase.
“But a rider (Cees Bol) was faster. A pity, but that is cycling. The final was quite technical, pretty crazy. There were a lot of turns and crashes, but the boys kept the focus well. In the end that went very well. Jasper did a good lead-out and that went well. I have said before: if you are playing poker, a pair of kings” is not bad” he says with a wink about the help he got from the Belgian.


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