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“Without it I would have won. I came out of Nacer’s wheel and I was at full speed fifteen meters from the line. Without that move, I would probably have won quite easily."

Photo: Sirotti

AG2R LA MONDIALE

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ALBERTO CONTADOR

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ALEXANDER KRISTOFF

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ARNAUD DEMARE

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BMC RACING TEAM

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EF EDUCATION FIRST-DRAPAC

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GERAINT THOMAS

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GROUPAMA-FDJ

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IAM CYCLING

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ION IZAGIRRE

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JEROME COPPEL

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JONAS VANGENECHTEN

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JUAN JOSE LOBATO

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KATUSHA ALPECIN

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MARCEL KITTEL

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MATTHIAS BRÄNDLE

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MICHAEL MATTHEWS

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MITCHELTON-SCOTT

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MOVISTAR TEAM

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NACER BOUHANNI

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NICCOLÓ BONIFAZIO

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PARIS - NICE

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PIERRE LUC PERICHON

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RAFAL MAJKA

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RUI ALBERTO FARIA DA COSTA

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TOM DUMOULIN

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TREK - SEGAFREDO

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WILCO KELDERMAN

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WOUTER WIPPERT

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YOUCEF REGUIGUI

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08.03.2016 @ 22:48 Posted by Emil Axelgaard

Michael Matthews (Orica-GreenEDGE) continued his dream start to the season by taking win number 2 at Paris-Nice in a dramatic bunch sprint on stage 2 of the race. The Australian had crossed the line in second behind Nacer Bouhanni (Cofidis) but as the Frenchman was relegated to third for irregular sprinting, it was the Australian who was given the win. Niccolo Bonifazio (Trek) was second and Matthews extended his advantage in the overall standings.

 

We have gathered several reactions.

 

Michael Matthews: If it hadn’t been for Bouhanni, I would have won easily

Yellow jersey wearer Michael Matthews has taken another victory today at Paris-Nice in a stage two sprint that saw commissaires intervene on line honours. 

 

Matthews was awarded the win in a tight finish that saw Nacer Bouhanni (Cofidis Solutions Credits) relegated for interfering with the 25-year-old’s sprint during the finish into Commentry.

 

"He (Bouhanni) changed his line a little bit in the sprint," explained Matthews, who was promoted from second to first place. "When you've opened up your sprint after a hard stage like that it's hard to sprint in a straight line.

 

"I think I probably would have come past him in the sprint, but it's racing. It's unfortunate it needs to be like that but it is what it is. As you could see I had a lot of speed when I was coming past, so it would have been a win either way.

 

"It's definitely amazing to get another stage win - that's two out of three now. It was an uphill sprint so it suited me a lot better than yesterday.

 

“I made ​​my sprint on the left, Nacer was in the middle. He changed his line, too, and pushed me against the fence. 

 

"I make no mistake, Nacer did. I sprinted to the left, Bouhanni came from the middle all the way to my side and almost pushed me into the barrier. It was dangerous. Luckily I stayed upright.

 

“Without it I would have won. I came out of Nacer’s wheel and I was at full speed fifteen meters from the line. Without that move, I would probably have won quite easily.

 

“I think Bouhanni changed his line. I nearly crashed. It's always difficult to sprint at the end of such a long stage. It's unfortunate but either way I would have won because I was coming around him and I would have won if we hadn't touched. Two out of three, it's exceptional.

 

"After the 2 seconds taken yesterday, those 10 seconds can really help me keep the yellow jersey tomorrow at Mont Brouilly and maube to the end of Paris-Nice. Those 12 seconds are very important!

 

“Mont Brouilly is a 3.5 km ascent at an average of 7%. I think I can hold on. It will depend on the speed but I will give my maximum. I have very good legs and I do not think a guy can get a big advantage. I'll try to handle it and save energy for the future.

 

“Of course tomorrow will be hard for everyone. We climbed Mont Brouilly in Paris-Nice two years ago but we finished at the bottom, not the top. It will definitely be interesting to see what I can do and how the other teams will react. I don't want to say anything at this point, I first want to go back to the hotel and celebrate with my team-mates. But I definitely hope to be able to keep the yellow jersey tomorrow.   

 

“I have very good legs on the climbs and I surprised everyone by winning the prologue. To win a sprint is a very good sign for Milan - San Remo. I am in the form of my life.

 

“I am 14 seconds ahead of Dumoulin. That's important. The GC remains an ambition. It is difficult, but I'm going to give everything and I hope to wear the jersey tomorrow again. It has been a few difficult days in Paris-Nice: the cold, the stage yesterday and today, at no time flat actually. It still hurts in the legs and costs energy. It was not easy to sprint today. I'm glad I succeeded.

 

"There is no doubt that the TV doesn’t show it but they are very hard days. It reguired a lot of effort, a lot of energy. Today, it was cold, there were false-flats, uphill, downhill. The roads were rarely flat. The circuit was more difficult too. It was complicated for typical sprinters. And it was added to yesterday ... "

 

"I am always very confident before Milan-Sanremo. Last year I finished third but I had the legs to win. I thought about this sprint all year. In general, I learned a lot last year, in this classic and others. I am in great shape and I will approach this race with the necessary experience. I know I'm going to be at 110% but with my two stage wins in Paris-Nice, I'm very confident.”

 

After a close finish the commissaries took the decision to place Bouhanni down from first to third place, consequently giving Matthews the victory and ten bonus seconds, which now increases his lead in the general classification by 14seconds. 

 

Sport director Laurenzo Lapage was again thrilled with the team’s efforts today and expressed how taking the victory and retaining the lead in the race was an added bonus.

 

"We saw again a great team and everyone did their job,” Lapage said. “Winning the stage was good, we didn't know with all the sprinters here on a stage like this, but that shows again Matthews’ condition against the other WorldTour riders."

 

Tomorrow the riders face another tough 168km stage with five category three climbs and a steep climb to the finish line.

 

"We will keep the same race plan as we had at the start coming into this tour," continued Lapage. "That's with Matthews going for the stage wins and possibly overall and Simon Yates for the overall.

 

"Of course with Michael now in the yellow jersey we have to work hard in tomorrow's stage and also with the last hard climb up to the finish."

 

Niccolo Bonifazio: At the end of a long stage, I am always competitive

A more traditional sprint stage greeted the riders for stage two in Paris-Nice, which all came down to a gnarly bunch sprint where Niccolo Bonifazio capped off fantastic team work to finish in second place behind Michael Matthews (Orica GreenEdge). 

 

"The final was really hard it was up and down all the time, and there were a lot of turns," said Bonifazio. "The team worked really hard for me, and I could go into the last corner in third position. Then, of course, I tried to win the stage, and I came close finishing third behind Matthews and [Nacer] Bouhanni. I was moved to second when Bouhanni was relegated.

 

"I like these longer stages because I can handle the distance very well, and still arrive at the finish fresh to do a good sprint."

 

The near freezing temperatures continued in France and at 213.5 kilometers stage two was a long and cold slog. 

 

In the end, everything played out in textbook fashion: the breakaway was neutralized in the final 10 kilometers followed by the sprinters' teams revving up their engines in a positioning battle to the line, and the final 200-meter kick left to the fastmen.

 

Trek-Segafredo did not try and match the powerful lead-out trains. Instead, the crafty Edward Theuns, who almost stole the win with a late, daring attack yesterday, appeared at the last moment to lead Bonifazio into prime position. 

 

"I came with 700 meters to go, from the back, and I screamed at Niccolo to follow me," explained Theuns. "I was first into the last corner, and then I tried to keep the tempo as high as possible, and I think he was in 3rd position before I pulled off."

 

It was all a model of a classic sprint until the final few meters when Nacer Bouhanni [Cofidis] and Matthews made contact, nearly crashing over the finish line. Unhindered, Bonifazio finished a close third, which would later be bumped to second after Bouhanni was relegated for an illegal sprint. 

 

"The plan today was to go all for Niccolo," said director Kim Andersen. "Okay we didn't win, but it was close, and Niccolo showed that he has a big quality in this type of race. I think he generated a lot of confidence for the future, not only for himself but also for his teammates to work for him in the sprints. We have a lot of good sprinters here, and teams who pulled all day to bring their sprinters to the line, and, in the end, they were nowhere. I think it was a really good day for the team."

 

Nacer Bouhanni: This is nonsense

"This is nonsense! It was very hot in the final,” Bouhanni told L’Equipe. “I moved to the left and I went back towards the barriers. He (Matthews) was next to the barriers. We touched each other in the last twenty meters. It was him who touched me first. It was him who came in contact with me with 20 meters to go. This is nonsense, that's all."

 

“This is a serious decision ,” Cofidis manager Yvon Sanquer said.

 

Alexander Kristoff: Today our timing was not perfect

Despite the cold temperatures today for the second road stage of the 74th Paris-Nice, there was plenty of heat on display in a group sprint that earned Team KATUSHA’s Alexander Kristoff a fourth place finish at one second behind a group that saw the first across the line relegated to third place due to improper sprinting.

 

”We were trying to set up our lead out, but maybe we waited just a little bit too late so when we came to the last corners we were not in the front. We were a little bit off the front, so while we made it around the corner OK, we had to brake and lost some positions. We moved up again, but I ended up on the right side while making a right corner, so I came out of the corner to start my sprint with less speed than some other guys. I still wanted to sprint and I did the best I could but it wasn’t enough. We tried, but our timing was not perfect to take complete control of the front before the last corner.  There are other strong teams here trying to do the same thing. It was a very difficult final, actually,” said team sprinter Alexander Kristoff.

 

The best-placed rider for KATUSHA remains Ilnur Zakarin in 29th place at 43-seconds.

 

FDJ: If just Demare had stayed with Delage...

Arnaud Demare finished fifth.


"When you see what Arnaud Démare was able to do at the finish of the first stage in Vendome," said FDJ director Thierry Bricaud," we can not be content with fifth place in Commentry but I remember something from the day: our riders have a lot of desire!

 

 

"The lead-ou didn't work as intended. This is also the case for a lot of sprinters. In the last kilometer, Arnaud lost the wheel of Delage and it's a shame because Mika stayed in contact with Bouhanni abd Matthews who fought for the win. Arnaud then chose the wheel of Kristoff which was a good option, but he was stuck and created the split. That's how Arnaud finished in fifth place ..."

 

 

"Arthur [Vichot] said he did not have good legs today but tomorrow is what counts. The course is quite hard and it may be very complicated but in fact it will be the case for everyone!"

 

Sky pleased with time gain for Geraint Thomas in Paris-Nice sprint

Ben Swift sprinted to sixth place on the second stage of Paris-Nice after Nacer Bouhanni and Michael Matthews fought out a tense finale in Commentry.

 

Swift was guided into contention with team leader Geraint Thomas as the 213.5km trek from Contres neared its conclusion, and then latched on to Arnaud Demare's wheel before the fireworks commenced.

Swift was unable to round Tuesday's stage winner on the fast drag to the finish, and up ahead Bouhanni (Cofidis) and Matthews (Orica-GreenEdge) were going at it hammer and tongs. Bouhanni opened up his sprint down the left-hand side of the road, and almost sent Matthews into the crash barriers as he pipped the Australian to the line.

 

Matthews remonstrated with his French rival immediately after the finish, and after reviewing the incident, the race commissaires concluded that Bouhanni had indeed blocked his path - awarding the victory to Matthews whilst demoting Bouhanni to third behind Niccolo Bonifazio (Trek-Segafredo).

 

Swift crossed the line one second behind that trio in an 18-man bunch that also contained the attentive Thomas.

 

Those results saw Thomas defend his fifth place on the overall standings, and although the time gap to Matthews grew to 19 seconds, a gap in the peloton saw him gain four seconds on fellow GC favourites Alberto Contador (Tinkoff) and Richie Porte (BMC Racing).

 

The vast majority of the stage had passed predictably enough  with four riders attacking from the gun and building a lead over 10 minutes before Orica-GreenEdge and Etixx - Quick-Step joined forces to reel them back in.

 

All the while, Ian Boswell, Mikel Nieve and Nicolas Roche were working hard to keep Swift, Thomas and Sergio Henao positioned towards the head of the bunch, and when the escapees were caught 12km from home, Luke Rowe and Ian Stannard guided their team-mates through before that tense and hotly-contested finale.

 

After the stage, Sports Director Nicolas Portal admitted he had seen very little of the day's main talking point, but was happy with how events played out from a Team Sky perspective.

 

He told TeamSky.com: "It looked as though Bouhanni could sense Matthews was coming at the end there, but obviously, being in the team car, I didn't get a great view of it so I can't comment any more than that.

 

"It was another good day for us overall. Our main objective was to make sure G didn't lose any time, and he was on the right side of that four-second split at the end. I'm really pleased with that because we've been battling for every second over the last few days, and we looked after him all the way to the line.

 

"We told Swifty he could go for the sprint but it was always going to be hard for him against the purer sprinters. He had to look after himself in those last 3km and was a little bit far back because Demare and Kristoff lost the wheel at the finish.

 

"Ben shouldn't be disheartened and I've told him he has to be patient for the days that are a little bit harder. When the purer sprinters get dropped he can be right up there for the win."

 

Wednesday's stage sees the first summit of the race on the Mont-Brouilly, and Portal is expecting another exciting finale.

 

He added: "The last time we rode that climb was when G took the yellow jersey in this race two years ago. Back then the stage finished with a descent off the back of it, but this time we do it two times and the second lap finishes at the summit.  

 

"It's a steep, power climb that will suit a punchy rider. More gaps will open up again and we have to make sure G is right up there at the end. The climb's only 3km long but we will have to stay alert."  

 

Brändle gets a day of hard work, Van Genechten regrets lack of powerful sprint train

The former holder of the world hour record Matthias Brändle.  took a flyer almost as soon as the flag dropped to signal the start of the stage in Contres.  Accompanied by Tsgabu Grmay (Lampre), Anthony Delaplace (Fortuneo) and Evaldas Siskevicius (Delko Marseille), the Austrian was a big motor in the breakaway that lasted around 200 kilometers before being reabsorbed with some twelve kilometers to go to the finish by the peloton powered with all the steam that Orica-GreenEDGE, Etixx-Quickstep, and Katusha could provide.

  

"I was happy to be back in front," explained Matthias Brändle, after his long raid during the longest stage of the race.  “We worked well together to get the sort of advantage we needed to be at the front.  Unfortunately, we didn’t put enough time between us and the peloton to reach our goal of being able to go for the stage win.  I have no regrets because I was able to put in a very good day’s work on the bike.”

 

Jonas Van Genechten gathered another top-10 finish for IAM Cycling after placing himself well in a heated sprint that was won by Michael Matthews (Orica-GreenEDGE) after the officials declassified Nacer Bouhanni (Cofidis) on account of a maneuver just a few meters from the line that they classified as illegal.  Overall, Van Genechten was satisfied with his performance. 

 

“We were able to show the jersey at the front all day, and then in the final Vicente Reynes and Oliver Naesen succeeded in placing me well.  Unfortunately, we don’t really have the sort of train to compete with the big sprinters teams.  After that final bend, I managed to gain a few places, but I also had to deal with a lot of riders who were tailing off after finishing their lead-out chores.”

 

Acute sinusitis. It is on account of that diagnosis that Jérôme Coppel, who posted such a strong time in the prologue on Sunday in Conflans-Sainte-Honorine, returned home before the start of the second stage, in the hopes of recovering quickly in order to be prepared for his upcoming races.

 

Grmay on the attack in Paris-Nice

The second stage of the French race did not scare Tsgabu Grmay, who escaped from the bunch in the first km and promoted a four-rider breakaway  which had a maximum advantage of 10’15”. Grmay was dropped from the head of the race at 27 km to go.

 

The bunch neutralized the breakaway a few kilometers later and the fast rider began to prepare their approach to the sprint: LAMPRE-MERIDA’s had two targets which were the support to Kump for the sprint and the help to Rui Costa to be in the first part of the group in order to avoid crashes.

 

Kump missed out in the bends in the final 1500 km so he had to try to regain positions and he reached the finish in 11th place.

 

Rui Costa reached the finish with a time loss of 5 seconds

 

Sport director Mauduit explained that: “The first goal for the stage was to have at least one of our riders in the main breakaway and Grmay contributed to achieve this target. Even if we knew it would have been very difficult for the attackers to reach the finish, for us it was important to be in the breakaway.

 

"When the peloton was once again back together, we tried to give the necessary contribution to Kump and to Rui Costa. 

 

"Tomorrow's stage will be more demanding, we’ll try to be even more competitive”.

 

Youcef Reguigui gets his chance in WorldTour sprint

Team Dimension Data for Qhubeka were riding for Youcef Reguigui today and so with 15km to go, Nathan Haas brought the African Team to the head of the peloton. Haas and Tyler Farrar were doing a sterling job to keep Reguigui up front until 5km to go, from thereon the Algerian would fend for himself. Reguigui was on the wheel of Bouhanni with 2km to go before being bumped out of line. 

The sprint opened up with Bouhanni going for the win, the Frenchman started fading just before the line and as Matthews tried to pass on the inside, the Cofidis rider narrowed the gap between the barrier and himself. Reguigui was in the mix right until the end and at the finish, he was credited with 12th place on the stage.

Sports director Jean-Pierre Heynderickx said:
 

“It was a typical sprint stage today. 4 riders went away early on and then the GC leading team and 1 rider from Etixx-Quickstep controlled the stage all day. The stage ended with 1 local lap which had many roundabouts so it was a technical sprint. We were going for Youcef today and it was looking good but in the sprint things can change so fast. At 1km to go he was boxed in and couldn't get his sprint going. The positive thing today was that there was no rain. It was very cold but at least it was dry. This is better for our boys and every day the weather is getting better now so this is good.”

 

Leg pain forces Juan Jose Lobato to abandon Paris-Nice

A controversial finish to stage two of Paris-Nice between Contres and Commentry, at 213.5km, the longest in this year's Race to the Sun. saw Frenchman Nacer Bouhanni (COF) relegated after making illegal manoeuvres which twice blocked race leader Michael Matthews (OGE) during the final uphill sprint.

 

It wasn't to be this time for Movistar Team's two main fastmen. Designated sprinter Juanjo Lobato was forced to abandon an hour and ten minutes into the stage due to leg pain, while José Joaquín Rojas focused solely on supporting Ion Izagirre, as did Imanol Erviti, and the Herrada brothers Jesus and José. Izagirre finished the stage 13th, retaining fourth overall and defending his leadership in the KOM classification.

 

For Izagirre, as well as for Rubén Fernández, 15th in GC at 31", tomorrow represents an important test, with Mont Brouilly (Cat-2; 3km at 7.7% average), at the end of Day Three's 169 lumpy kilometres which feature five other categorised climbs along the way from the start town, Cusset.

 

Astana ready for first mountain stage with Sanchez and Westra

“It was cold at the start today but the it didn't rain and there was no wind so the stage wasquite quiet,” said Diego Rosa after the finish of the stage.

 

"Four guys escaped and they tried to get the victory. We controlled the situation untill the teams of the sprinters pushed on the speed and caught the escapees.

 

“Tomorrow's stage has an uphill final and the weather forecast is not good with rain and wind. We will work to help Luis Leon Sanchez and Lieuwe Westra who are in good shape and are well positioned in the GC. Let’s see how the race will develop but for sure we will do our best.”

 

Lieuwe Westra kept the 6th position in the general classification at 24 seconds from the leader.

 

Tom Dumoulin pleased to gain time on GC rivals in Paris-Nice

The stage came down to a bunch sprint as expected and after a hard day of riding, Tom Dumoulin crossed the line in 15th place.  The Team Giant-Alpecin jerseys stayed very attentive today and they were focused on looking after to Tom Dumoulin and keeping him out of the wind.

The race came down to a fast finish and after good positioning coming into the final kilometres, Tom Dumoulin took 15th place with the race honours going to Michael Matthews.

 

Tom Dumoulin is 2nd in the general classification, 14″ behind the race leader.

 

Tom Dumoulin said: “It was a dangerous final and we knew we had to be in a good position. The guys rode a very strong race and I am happy I gained some seconds.”

 

Coach Aike Visbeek said: “The stage was always likely to end in a bunch sprint and the team was prepared for that situation.

 

“The team did a great job and we were focused on bringing Tom in a good position before the roundabout at 2km before the finish line. Our experience in bunch sprints helped us a lot and I have to give a compliment to the whole team for setting Tom up.

 

“We gained 4 seconds on a lot of GC contenders and that was our objective at the start of the stage.”

 

Tinkoff: Hopefully this time loss for Contador won’t be decisive

Stage 2 was a day for the sprinters with a bunch finish in Commentry. After a 213.5km stage and a dramatic sprint finish, the Tinkoff riders stayed out of trouble with Rafal Majka first home in 18th place, ahead of Alberto Contador who got caught behind a split losing a handful of seconds.

 

After the cold and wintery conditions of stage 1, blue skies at the start line in Contres for stage 2 were a welcome sight for riders, but the cold weather persisted over the race’s longest day. At 213.5km, the course took in only one categorised climb after 164km, and in spite of the best efforts of a breakaway that stayed out much of the stage, the expected sprint took place, won in dramatic fashion by the race leader, Michael Matthews.

 

“Today’s stage was pretty straight forward as predicted, with a usual break of four guys and a steady tempo set behind.” commented Sport Director, Sean Yates, at the finish.


Throughout the stage, the Tinkoff riders were keeping their team leader safe and helping conserve energy in preparation for the mountain stages. As the pace crept up, the sprint trains formed and a dramatic sprint unfolded ahead, Contador crossed the line seconds after the sprinters, ready for tomorrow’s move into the mountains.

 

“Things did get a bit tricky at the end after a long day, and in the final there was a split and Alberto Contador lost a few seconds in the hectic, slightly uphill sprint. Hopefully this won’t come back to haunt us in Nice. We stayed out of trouble and did everything right all day long, but this shows you that anything can happen in these finishes here.”

 

With today’s stage out of the way, Yates turned his attention to tomorrow’s route, which takes in the first mountains of the race. “Tomorrow is an uphill summit finish, with a 3km climb which we do twice. The route to that point is up and down and the weather isn’t looking great so it could be a tough day out. Tomorrow will be the first opportunity for Alberto and the team to go for the victory and to move up the GC. The plan stays the same, to protect Alberto and his GC hopes, supported by the team including Rafal Majka who’s going well here.”

 

Wilco Kelderman misses split in dangerous Paris-Nice finale

Paris-Nice’s stage two ended in a bunch sprint after 214 kilometres to Commentry today. Michael Matthews (Orica) won the stage after the jury regulated Nacer Bouhanni (Cofidis). Team LottoNL-Jumbo’s Wilco Kelderman lost four seconds to some rivals due to a gap in the group.

“Maybe, it looked like a stage in which everyone just rode to the finish easily, but even in races like this, it’s hectic, nervous and dangerous all the time,” Sports Director Frans Maassen said. “Everyone wants to be in front of the peloton. For many riders, it’s all about not losing time and we don’t have a sprinter who’s able to win this race, so we have to prepare ourselves mentally to take part in the fight for positions. That’s harder than it seems, but Wilco Kelderman did a good job today.” 

 

Kelderman finished 26th, losing five seconds on some of his competitors.

 

“That’s a pity, but no disaster,” Maassen continued. “When you finish 26th, you must have fought for a good position several times. The split happened just in front of him. It’s annoying, but not insurmountable.”

 

Team LottoNL-Jumbo’s leader will have a chance to take back those seconds tomorrow.

 

“Everyone has to go all in,” Maassen added. “We face a transition stage similar to one you’d see in the Tour de France. Those days are always tough.

 

“We’ll finish on top of a second category climb with a narrow road, so it will be a fight to the foot of the mountain. Several teams in the peloton probably want to make some differences already in the middle part of the stage. In combination with the expected rain, it’s going to be a challenging day.”

 

Ag2r: Tomorrow we will find out if Bardet can play a role in Paris-Nice

"It was a quiet day but stressful in the bunch,” Ag2r sports director Stephane Goubert said. “The boys did well and protected Romain (Bardet). We knew that the breakaway had no chance. The idea was to save energy.

 

“Tomorrow, we expect a difficult day, bad weather is announced and the course will be difficult.This is the first appointment of Paris-Nice. We are ambitious and we will know tomorrow if we are able to play a role in this race. The finish is made for puncheurs and for climbers. Another type of rider will shine. "

 

Richie Porte: Today we rode really well as a team

A bunch sprint ended another stressful day in the saddle on stage 2 of Paris-Nice with race leader Michael Matthews (Orica-GreenEDGE) taking the win in a dramatic sprint to the line.

 

Nacer Bouhanni (Cofidis) crossed the line first but was relegated to third for deviating from his line in the sprint. Niccolo Bonifazio (Trek-Segafredo) was bumped up to second place following the ruling.

Richie Porte crossed the line safely in the front group and remains in the top ten on the General Classification, sitting in tenth place, 27 seconds behind Matthews.

 

Porte was happy with how the stage panned out.

 

“It was a slightly less stressful today than it was yesterday. The guys really got around me today and we rode really well as a team. It was such a long day out there and nothing interesting really happened until 60km to go when the peloton started working harder to bring the break back. It was a tricky finish but the the guys kept me out of harms way,” Porte said.

 

Some more tough weather conditions are forecast for stage 3 which will also see the peloton leave the flat terrain and have their first taste of climbing.

 

“Tomorrow’s stage is quite hard and from the sounds of it, the weather isn’t the best either, so it should be another typical Paris-Nice stage. But we’ll be another day closer to sunny Nice so that’s a good thing.”

 

Disappointed Marcel Kittel: I must admit that I had a bad day

Unfortunately, Marcel Kittel – winner of five races this year – couldn't contest the sprint, and he explained at the finish what happened: "It was a long day, which became crazy in the final 40 kilometers. The final was difficult and it was pretty hard to stay in the right position. We tried to come to the front, as that was the plan, but we couldn't move up anymore in the last 5 kilometers. I am a bit disappointed, also because I didn't feel good today, but that's cycling: sometimes you win, sometimes you lose. Despite this, I remain upbeat, because there's one more chance for sprinters on Thursday."

 

"I cannot tell that much about it," Kittel told Het Nieuwsblad. "It was a tough finale (with many turns and roundabouts in the end, ed.) and it was not easy to stay in front.

 

"It's unfortunate. I must admit that I did not have a good day and am disappointed with my result. I was hoping for more, but it just was not possible today. Thursday gives a new opportunity and I want to try again. "

 

Pierre-Luc Perichon fractures collarbone after colliding with a spectator at Paris-Nice

A new blow for Fortuneo-Vital Concept formation. Victim of a crash in the finale of the second stage of Paris-Nice, Pierre-Luc Perichon is out of the race after colliding with a spectator. The team lost Eduardo Sepulveda due to a crash last week.

 

Fortuneo - Vital Concept has confirmed a broken collarbone after radiological examinations at the Montlucon hospital.

 

 "Pierre-Luc Périchon has sustained a displaced fracture of the left collarbone that requires us to insert a plate. He will underg surgey on Thursday afternoon at the Clinique du Parc in Lyon by a shoulder specialist. Has also has many wounds on the body and will be kept under observation tonight. For this type of fracture, it normally takes four weeks to recover if there are no complication," says Jean-Jacques Menuet, the team doctor, in a statement . 

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