The opening stage of Paris-Nice provided plenty of excitement, thanks to the wet-and-windy weather that descended on France as the peloton rolled of Bois-d'Arcy for a 148.5km stage that would finish back in the same town about 35km west of Paris.
The flat stage promised an eventful day for the sprinters, and that turned out to be the case, but not in the way they might has expected at the start of the day. Arnaud Demare (FDJ) eventually beat Quick-Step Floors' Julian Alaphilippe in a two-up sprint after a wild day of racing that saw the large winning echelon go clear just an hour into the day and then begin to splinter as the race neared the finish.
Jettisoned from the group as the leaders neared the finish were Marcel Kittel (Quick-Step Floors), Andre Greipel (Lotto Soudal), Alexander Kristoff (Katusha-Alpecin), Philippe Gilbert (Quick-Step Floors) and Bryan Coquard (Direct Energie), leaving just Demare and Alaphilippe to fight for victory.
In the race behind the leaders, Romain Bardet (AG2R La Mondiale) got too much assistance from his team car while trying to catch the second chase group after crashing with about 22km to go and was removed from the race by the commissaries after finishing the stage.
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