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The Belgian has been docked 1.10 as punishment for drafting after his crash in today's stage

Photo: OPQS / Tim De Waele

GIANNI MEERSMAN

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PARIS - NICE

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QUICK-STEP - ALPHA VINYL

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10.03.2014 @ 19:51 Posted by Emil Axelgaard

Gianni Meersman (Omega Pharma-Quick Step) could smell the yellow jersey in today's second day of Paris-Nice but a crash crushed all his dreams of a taste of the leadership in the race. Instead, the commissaires docked him 1.10 as punishment for prolonged drafting behind his team car.

 

Everything was looking so bright for Gianni Meersman when the peloton neared the finale of today's stage of Paris-Nice. Having scored two bonus seconds in intermediate sprints, the Belgian had got hold of the virtual overall lead and just needed to do a good final sprint to become the overall leader of the race.

 

However, it all unravelled when he was involved in a big crash 10km from the finish. It took some time for him to get back on his bike and as he was completely on his own, he had little chance of rejoining the peloton.

 

Television showed how his team car drafted him back to the main group and he managed to rejoin the rear end inside the final kilometre. As splits occurred in the finale, he was given a time that was 18 seconds slower than stage winner Moreno Hofland's.

 

However, Meersman was docked 1.10 by the commissaires as punishment for drafting and he now finds himself in 102nd, 1.31 down on Bouhanni. All his dreams of the yellow jersey have been crushed and he will now try to take his revenge in a sprint on one of the hillier days later in the week.

 

You can read our stage preview here and follow our live coverage at 14.25 CET on CyclingQuotes.com/live.

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