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Freak mixed zone accident forces Geniets to abandon Paris-Nice

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This year's edition of Paris-Nice has been something of a race of attrition, with just 104 riders starting Saturday's seventh stage from the 154 who set out at the start of the week.

A wave of illness has swept through the peloton, causing dozens of abandons and notably reducing Israel-Premier Tech to just one rider, Hugo Houle. At the start of stage 7 in Nice, though, Groupama-FDJ rider Kevin Geniets was forced out of the race in entirely different – and bizarre – circumstances.

The Luxembourg road champion was making his way to the start of the 155-kilometre stage past the media zone when a gust of wind hit a set of advertising hoardings. Unfortunately for the 25-year-old, one of the metal hoardings fell onto him, taking him down in full view of the TV cameras.

Geniets was tended to by a medical team on the spot, having suffered an injury to his ankle as he fell. He went on to take the start of the stage but was forced to abandon due to the pain in the neutral zone before the start proper.

"A panel from the mixed zone fell on Kevin Geniets before the seventh stage of Paris-Nice," his Groupama-FDJ team reported. "He took the start after a hit to the ankle but was forced to abandon after a few kilometres."

It's unknown how severe Geniets' injury is and how long he might be out of action. He later took to Twitter to simply state "FML", quoting a video of the crash.

Geniets abandon left 104 riders in the race, with his teammate Michael Storer having left the race before the start due to bronchitis. Before Saturday, the team was one of the few remaining squads to enjoy a full roster of seven riders. Quentin Pacher is their best-placed man on GC, lying 25th at 8:38 down, after stage 6.

Mike Teunissen (Jumbo-Visma) later joined Geniets and Storer on the long list of riders to leave the race, abandoning in the early kilometres with a view to focus on the Classics.

Shortly afterwards, the abandons of Alexis Vuillermoz (AG2R Citroën), Tsgabu Grmay (BikeExchange-Jayco), and Florian Sénéchal (QuickStep-AlphaVinyl) brought the number of riders remaining to just 100.

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Daniel Ostanek is production editor at Cyclingnews, having joined in 2017 as a freelance contributor and later being hired as staff writer. Before Cyclingnews, he was published in numerous publications around the cycling world, including Procycling, CyclingWeekly, CyclingTips, Cyclist, and Rouleur, among others. As well as reporting and writing news and features, Daniel runs the 'How to watch' content throughout the season.

Daniel has reported from the world's top races, including the Tour de France, and has interviewed a number of the sport's biggest stars, including Egan Bernal, Wout van Aert, Remco Evenepoel, Mark Cavendish, and Anna van der Breggen. Daniel rides a 2002 Landbouwkrediet Colnago C40 and his favourite races are Strade Bianche and the Vuelta a España.