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Paris - Nice 2014

Date range:
March 9-16

March 09, Stage 1: Mantes-la-Jolie - Mantes-la-Jolie 162.5km

Complete Live Report

Live commentary by:
Susan Westemeyer

Paris-Nice – the Race to the Sun. 1447 kilometers with no time trial or prologue, and no defending champion. Who will be the first to put their mark on the 2014 race?

  1. 11:20:09 CET

     
    They are off! The riders have a beautiful early spring day to take off on the 162.5 km course with start and finish in Mantes-la-Jolie.

  2. 153.5km remaining from 162.5km

    11:22:04 CET

    We have our first break of the race! Christoph Laborie (BSE) has managed to already build up a five minute gap!

     

  3. 11:26:36 CET

    Laborie took off right as the flag was dropped. He may well have his eye on the first climb of the race, which comes at km 40.

     

  4. 11:29:43 CET

    The biggest news is that defending champion Richie Porte is not here. His teammate Chris Froome had to bow out of Tirreno-Adriatico with back problems, so Porte was shuffled over to the Italian race, with Geraint Thomas moving over to Paris-Nice. Bradley Wiggins also decided then to do T-A rather than P-N.
     

  5. 140.9km remaining from 162.5km

    11:31:39 CET

    After nearly 22 km, Laborie has built his lead up to 7:30.

     

     

  6. 11:36:21 CET

    • Team Sky

    Christian Knees (Sky) was surely not the only one happy to see the sun this morning. "The sun is already shining over Paris, so actually we don't need to ride at all!" he twittered.

  7. 11:39:55 CET

    Today's stage has a rather confusing course, with the peloton crossing the finish line three times before it really counts. Along the way they will face not only two intermediate sprints but also the first climbs of the race, the cat. 3 Cote de Vert.

  8. 11:41:41 CET

    Trek has the youngest AND oldest riders in this race.  The youngster is Bob Jungels, who is 21, and the "oldie" is Danilo Hondo, who is 40.

  9. 23.5km remaining from 162.5km

    11:45:04 CET

    Laborie is really going all out -- after 23.5 km, the gap is up to 10:30, with Giant-Shimano leading the chase waaaay behind. .

  10. 11:49:18 CET

    This 72d edition of the race is one of the longer ones, with 1447 kilometers – in fact the longest ne over only eight days.
  11. 11:53:18 CET

    There is no time trial here, something which hasn't occured since the 1955 race. And no mountaintop finishes.

  12. 11:56:45 CET

    Our climb today is the Cote de Vert, and it pops up at km 40.5 and 107 km. It is a cat 3 climb, 1.5 km long at 4.4%. And Laborie should be rapidly approaching it.

  13. 12:01:38 CET

    Here the top five in GC from 2013: 1 Richie Porte (Sky) 2 Andrew Talansky (Garmin-Sharp) 3 Jean-Christophe Peraud (AG2R) 4 Tejay Van Garderen (BMC) 5 Sylvain Chavanel (Omega Pharma-QuickStep) Of those five, the first three are not at the race at all. Van Garderen and Chavanel, now with IAM, will look to land on the podium this year.

  14. 12:04:32 CET

    Laborie is indeed on his way up that first climb, with a gap of "only" 9:55.
  15. 12:07:51 CET

    Chavanel won the points jersey in 2013, Johann Tschoop of IAM Cycling the mountains jersey, and Talansky the best young rider ranking. Katusha won the teams classification
  16. 12:08:28 CET

    Labories tops out on the climb and takes the first KOM points of the 2014 Paris-Nice.
  17. 12:12:30 CET

    All 18 WorldTour teams are here, of course, this being a WorldTour ranked-race. We also have three wild card teams, Bretagne-Seche Environemente and Cofidis (both French) and IAM Cycling.

  18. 12:18:29 CET

    Here's how the mountain points went: first, Laborie 4 points, second was Simon Yates (OGE) 2 point and third is a new name to us, Perrig Quemeneur (EUC) 1 point.
  19. 12:23:06 CET

    Top photographer Tim de Waele has followed Paris-Nice for years, and Cyclingnews is happy to present a gallery of his shots of P-N over the years.

    Click here

    and enjoy!

  20. 112.5km remaining from 162.5km

    12:27:45 CET

    The various sprinters' teams are leading the chase, with the gap down to 9 minutes.

    Speaking of sprinters, how would you like to win a Giant-Shimano jersey personally signed by Marcel Kittel?  It's easy enough to enter, check it out here.

  21. 12:30:53 CET

    The weather is so nice today that we have opened the sun-roof on the Cyclingnews blimp and are working on our tan. Actually, we should not be saying the “Race to the Sun”. Race organizers ASO have changed the nickname to “Race for the Daring”.

  22. 12:36:29 CET

    Christophe Laborie (Saur - Sojasun) on stage for winning the sprint classification. What do we know about Laborie? He is 27 years old and in his first year with Bretagne-Seche Environement, after riding for Saur-Sojasun for three years.

  23. 94.9km remaining from 162.5km

    12:40:03 CET

    After more than 67 kms, the gap has dropped to 7:05.

  24. 12:45:19 CET

    • Orica GreenEdge

    The race opens with four flattish stages, so we can expect the usual break groups and bunch sprints.

    Orica-GreenEdge is counting on its two sprinters

    Matt Goss and Michael Matthews to shine in those finishes.

  25. 12:47:37 CET

    We have also had the first intermediate sprint of the day, with, of course, Laborie taking it. He was followed, quite a bit later, by Gianni Meersman and Tom Boonen, both OPQS.

  26. 12:50:14 CET

    LeTour now tells us it was not Boonen in third place, but Sky's Geraint Thomas.

  27. 12:54:25 CET

    • Crash

    We have had a crash, and Nacer Bouhanni (FDJ) has hit the pavement. But the Frenchman bounced back up and is riding again.

  28. 12:58:54 CET

    John Degenkolb (Giant-Shimano)

    We expect a bunch gallop today – or a mass sprint, if you prefer – so let's take a look at the fast-legged men. John Degenkolb of Giant-Shimano is an obvious choice. He has gotten his season off to a good start, winning the first three stages of the Tour Med.

  29. 13:01:56 CET

    Apparently Bouhanni landed on his left knee, and the race doctor has taken a look at it. Last year he had to abandon the race whilst leading it, due to a crash. That is not something he wants to repeat!

  30. 13:03:07 CET

    Now here is a surprise -- Tejay van Garderen of BMC has just abandoned! He finished fourth here last year and was a favourite to win it this year. We will see what we can find out for you.

  31. 13:05:23 CET

    • Crash

    We are having quite a streak of bad luck in the race at the moment. Another crash has taken down Vasil Kiryienka (Sky), Mattia Cattaneo and Jose Serpa, the latter both Lampre.

  32. 13:10:45 CET

    Nacer Bouhanni (FDJ.fr) is also one to watch at the finish. He has only one win so far, at the Etoile des Besseges, and is no doubt eager to improve on the many top-five placings he has brought in. Hopefully his crash won't affect him.
  33. 75.5km remaining from 162.5km

    13:11:55 CET

    The race is just over half done, and Laborie's lead is now at just over five minutes.
  34. 13:16:48 CET

    We are doing double live reports today. Check out our Roma Maxima live report here -- but be sure to come back here !!

  35. 70km remaining from 162.5km

    13:18:51 CET

    The gap keeps on dropping, with 70 km to go it is 4:40.

    We are vigorously applying our sunscreen here in the open-air blimp, hope the riders remembered to do the same.

  36. 13:22:02 CET

    Here is another sprinter to watch for: Tyler Farrar, sprinting for Garmin-Sharp, hasn't had an easy start to the year and is still looking for that first win. He opened his season in San Luis and most recently finished pretty far back in Omloop and KBK.

  37. 13:26:18 CET

    The peloton has really turned up the speed. With less than 65 km to go the gap is now finally under four minutes.
  38. 13:27:08 CET

    A Tinkov-Saxo rider has punctured.
  39. 13:27:31 CET

    The peloton crosses the finish line for the second time.
  40. 13:30:22 CET

    The field is racing alongside a river, as above them on the bridges the traffic backs up.
  41. 13:32:26 CET

    A Europcar rider leads the peloton, which is all bunched together.
  42. 13:35:22 CET

    And another crash, on a narrow road. Looks like an Astana rider.
  43. 13:35:44 CET

    yes, Alessandro Vanotti. He is fine but the bike needs some help.
  44. 57km remaining from 162.5km

    13:36:53 CET

    To keep things up to date, we have 57km to go and a gap of 3:10.
  45. 13:37:40 CET

    Laborie must be on his way up the climb again and so will presumably take the first KOM jersey unchallenged.
  46. 13:39:41 CET

    Bouhanni is making another visit to the race doctor. That is not good....
  47. 13:41:24 CET

    Laborie is workign his way through a pretty wooded section, with a lead of 2:45.
  48. 13:42:19 CET

    Bouhanni makes a face at the tv camera and does not look happy.
  49. 13:44:04 CET

    Another of his rivals for the sprint finish today is Tom Boonen, who seems to be turning into a sprinter again. The OPQS Belgian won two stages in Qatar, finishing second overall, and last weekend put on a good display to win Kuurne-Brussel-Kuurne for the third time.

  50. 54km remaining from 162.5km

    13:44:53 CET

    Lampre has moved up to help Europcar with the lead work.

  51. 13:46:57 CET

    We understand that BMC says van Garderen had to drop out due to stomach problems.

  52. 13:50:10 CET

    • Red Polka Dot Jersey

    Laborie of course won the KOM ranking at the second climb, with second going to Przemyslaw Niemiec (Lampre) and Europcar's Quemeneur again taking third. That give Laborie the polka-dot jersey this afternoon!

  53. 51km remaining from 162.5km

    13:51:11 CET

    And having won that polka-dot jersey, Laborie is fading back into the peloton. The gap is now a grand total of 35 seconds!

  54. 13:51:54 CET

    It will be interesting to see what happens now. 50 km is a very long time for the sprinters' teams to hold things together.

  55. 13:52:24 CET

    Laborie looks back to see the horde right behind him.

  56. 50.2km remaining from 162.5km

    13:53:05 CET

    That's it! He is caught and the field is all togehter.

  57. 44km remaining from 162.5km

    14:01:10 CET

    44km to go and the field is still holding together.

  58. 14:05:20 CET

    Sylvain Chavanel is leading the IAM team here and looking to take the overall title.

     

    Sylvain Chavanel (IAM Cycling) placed 7th overall at Tour Méditerranéen

     

     

  59. 14:06:26 CET

     Looks like one rider decides to see if the field will let him get away. They won't.

  60. 14:08:27 CET

    The peloton has split!

    Don't worry, it has only been split by some lane dividers.

  61. 14:08:55 CET

    Another rider is taking his chance. If only we could read his jersey....

  62. 14:09:23 CET

    That, too, came to nothing.

  63. 14:12:23 CET

    Over at AG2R

    , Romain Bardet and Carlos Betancur will be leading things. Bardet may be an outsider, but thinks he has a chance.

  64. 33km remaining from 162.5km

    14:13:47 CET

    There's a a wild sprint to the finish line! Yes, they do realize they still have one more lap to go. That was just the next intermediate sprint. And meanwhile Laborie is falling off the back.Add an Icon

  65. 14:15:33 CET

    Here is what BMC DS Max Sciandri told Letour about van Garderen's abandon. "He was feeling unwell but we hoped that he would be able to make it to the finish as it was an easy stage. He just couldn't. It was on his priority list so it's a big disappointment. He's now going home and will have to reassess the situation. Catalunya should be his next race. We still have a few good support riders like Stephen Cummings who can still go for the GC and others like Greg Van Avermaet or Taylor Phinney who can look for stage wins."

  66. 14:18:35 CET

    Another crash

  67. 14:19:51 CET

    Looks like only two riders were involved and neither  injured. Maxime Monfort now scurries his way back up to the peloton.

  68. 14:21:23 CET

    Here's how that sprint at the finish line turned out: 1, Gianni Meersman (OPQ), 2. Greg van Avermaet (BMC) and 2  Sylvain Chavanel (IAM)

  69. 14:25:45 CET

    Astana is lead here by Vincenzo Nibali, who, we will remember, just became a papa for the first time. He doesn't expect to be at his best here – not only does he have those new-baby sleepless nights behind him, he is building up to the Tour de France, where he will need to be at his peak in July.

    Vicenzo Nibali (Astana)

  70. 14:30:32 CET

    There was apparently anothe rcrash which has split the field. The two groups aren't that far apart. We do have some small groups of riders trailing along behind trying to catch up.

  71. 14:31:03 CET

    The leading group, of course, is turning on the speed as much as it can, to try and drop the rest.

  72. 18km remaining from 162.5km

    14:33:54 CET

    We actually have three groups.Oops, make that two again. The first two have joined up. There are maybe 40-50 in teh chase group? No idea on the time gap.

  73. 14:34:57 CET

    Letour says that Andy Schleck was caught behind that crash, but we are not sure which group he is in.

  74. 14:38:21 CET

    Romain Bardet (AG2R) is one of the unfortunates in teh third group..That group is desperately working its way up through the team cars.

  75. 14:40:33 CET

    We do still have three groups. Thomas Voeckler (Europcar) and Simon Gerrans (Orica) are in the second group, at about 28 seconds, with the Bardet group nearly a minute down.

  76. 14:41:40 CET

    Bardet had his eye n the overall title here, so it couldn't have gotten off to a worse start for him. He hs not given up yet, though.

  77. 14:42:15 CET

    Belkin has moved to the head of the first group. The Dutch team can surely hold the speed high.

  78. 11km remaining from 162.5km

    14:44:02 CET

    Belkin is indeed turning on the speed, to force an early decision for not only the stage but possibly the whole race.The second group is at 30 seconds, with the Bardet group at 55 seconds.

  79. 14:45:37 CET

    Looks like Bardet and four or five others are about to catch on the second group.

  80. 14:47:50 CET

    Bardet is indeed now in the first chase group. However, Andy Schleck is not, and is still behind.

  81. 14:49:02 CET

    Sky is now leading the first group, and they are putting down a furous pace.

  82. 14:49:51 CET

    4 km to go. Which sprinters are in this group?

  83. 14:50:26 CET

    Make that 3 km and counting down. It is a large group, so maybe there are in there.

  84. 14:50:59 CET

    45 seconds to the chase group.

  85. 14:51:31 CET

    A series of roundabouts here in teh finale.

  86. 14:52:43 CET

    And here they go for the closing sprint!

  87. 14:53:31 CET

    It was a close one with a lot of riders together but it looks like Bouhanni took it ahead of Shimano!

  88. 14:54:53 CET

    It was indeed a three-man race, with Bouhanni coming up from behind to clearly take the win. So his early crash didn't affect him.

  89. 14:56:08 CET

    Second place went to John Degenkolv of Giant-Shimano, with Gianni Meersman (OPQS) third.

  90. 14:58:35 CET

    In GC, Bouhanni leads with Meersman second (having picked up time bonuses underway) and Degenkolb third.

  91. 14:59:14 CET

    Stage top ten:

    1 Nacer Bouhanni (Fra) FDJ.fr
    2 John Degenkolb (Ger) Team Giant-Shimano
    3 Gianni Meersman (Bel) Omega Pharma - Quick-Step Cycling Team
    4 Jose Joaquin Rojas Gil (Spa) Movistar Team
    5 Tyler Farrar (USA) Garmin Sharp
    6 Bryan Coquard (Fra) Team Europcar
    7 Luca Wackermann (Ita) Lampre-Merida
    8 Fabio Felline (Ita) Trek Factory Racing
    9 Fabio Sabatini (Ita) Cannondale
    10 Francesco Gavazzi (Ita) Astana Pro Team

  92. 15:01:11 CET

    This will be the second consecutive year that Bouhanni has worn the leader's jersey here. He got it last year after winning the first stage, only to lose it the next day when he crashed out. He surely hopes that part of history won't repeat itself.

  93. 15:04:02 CET

    And the top ten in GC:

    1 Nacer Bouhanni (Fra) FDJ.fr 3:53:01
    2 Gianni Meersman (Bel) Omega Pharma - Quick-Step Cycling Team 0:00:01
    3 John Degenkolb (Ger) Team Giant-Shimano 0:00:04
    4 Greg Van Avermaet (Bel) BMC Racing Team 0:00:08
    5 Geraint Thomas (GBr) Team Sky 0:00:09
    6 Sylvain Chavanel (Fra) IAM Cycling 0:00:09
    7 Jose Joaquin Rojas Gil (Spa) Movistar Team 0:00:10
    8 Tyler Farrar (USA) Garmin Sharp 0:00:10
    9 Bryan Coquard (Fra) Team Europcar 0:00:10
    10 Luca Wackermann (Ita) Lampre-Merida 0:00:10

  94. 15:07:07 CET

    That was the first stage of this year's Paris-Nice. Thanks for reading along and be sure to join us again tomorrow for more action!