Dylan Groenewegen (LottoNL-Jumbo) powered out of the pack to win a bunch sprint by a clear bike length on Monday to clinch victory in stage two of the Paris-Nice race.
Arnaud Demare (Groupama-FDJ), the winner of Sunday’s dramatic four-way photo finish, retains the overall lead with the time gap and points bonus earned with a slog up the cobbled hill before the stage one finish.
Demare was in the mix again Monday but ended fifth, although he was cheered along much of the 187.5km route in his race leader’s yellow jersey.
UAE Team Emirates leader Rui Costa, who fell twice on Sunday and early on the stage Monday, pulled out after his right knee gave him too much pain.
Tuesday’s 210km stage from Bourges to Chatel-Guyon in the Puy-de-Dome region may end up going to a sprinter again but it is far from certain.
With a category three climb followed by a sharp, tricky descent some 20km from home, it may be too tempting for the powerful rollers amongst the peloton to resist a late bid.
Over the five remaining stages there is a time trial and three days featuring significant climbing, including the final day 110km run around Nice.
“I’m feeling very good, but the team is also very strong,” said Groenewegen. “They did a very good job in the final. There was a small climb in the end but I survived and I was able to sprint for the win.”
Paris-Nice 2018 – stage 2 results (Orsonville – Vierzon):
|1||Dylan Groenewegen (LottoNL-Jumbo)|
|2||Elia Viviani (Quick-Step Floors)|
|3||André Greipel (Lotto Soudal)|
|4||Phil Bauhaus (Team Sunweb)|
|5||Arnaud Demare (Groupama-FDJ)|
|6||Mike Teunissen (Team Sunweb)|
|7||Alexander Kristoff (UAE Team Emirates)|
|8||Jean-Pierre Drucker (BMC)|
|9||John Degenkolb (Trek-Segafredo)|
|10||Ivan Garcia Cortina (Bahrain-Merida)|
General classification after stage 2:
|1||Arnaud Demare (Groupama-FDJ)|
|2||Gorka Izagirre (Bahrain-Merida)|
|3||Christophe Laporte (Cofidis)|
|4||Julian Alaphilippe (Quick-Step Floors)|
|5||Mike Teunissen (Team Sunweb)|
|6||Tim Wellens (Lotto Soudal)|
|7||Tony Gallopin (AG2R La Mondiale)|
|8||Esteban Chaves (Mitchelton-Scott)|
|9||Ion Izagirre (Bahrain-Merida)|
|10||Heinrich Haussler (Bahrain-Merida)|