Paris-Nice: Greipel wins in Saint-Amand-Montrond

André Greipel finished off the hard work of his Lotto Soudal team with a well played long sprint victory on the second stage of Paris-Nice in Saint Amond Montrond. The German champion edged out French champion Arnaud Démare (FDJ) and John Degenkolb (Giant-Alpecin).

Michal Kwiatkowski (Etixx-Quickstep) held onto the yellow jersey, but Degenkolb pulled himself closer to the race lead with the time bonus, and is now third at three seconds behind Rohan Dennis (BMC).

It's not often that the early sprint wins in a headwind finish, but Greipel muscled his way to the line, holding off the fast-charging Demare, who left it perhaps just a little late.

"It was a bit of a headwind sprint. Arnaud (Demare) came in fast but I managed to hold my lead," Greipel said. "I'd like to give this victory to my mother, she is having a very hard time at the moment. Don't give up!"

The sprint was very nearly foiled by a late attack from former world time trial champion Tony Martin, who stood to take the leader's jersey from his teammate Kwiatkowski. Lotto Soudal dug deep to pull back Martin, who had help from Lars Boom (Astana) and Sky's Geraint Thomas.

"It was a bit of the mess in the finale, we didn't really know what was happening when Martin, Thomas and Boom went. They are three great time trial riders but fortunately we didn't lose our calm and we managed to catch them," Greipel said.

"It's important to win for the first time on Paris-Nice. It's a big race with some of the best sprinters in the peloton. Yesterday, we really didn't take part in the sprint. Today we wanted to do it better It's a team work, I win with them and I lose with them. So I was glad I was able to deliver today."

Alexander Kristoff (Katusha), winner of stage 1, stood a chance at taking the race lead through time bonuses before stage 4's mountains, but after lacking power in the finale has turned his focus toward keeping the green jersey.

"Today it didn't go as well as yesterday. I found myself too far from the action and I lost a lot of energy to try and make it back to the front," Kristoff said. "As a result I didn't have good enough legs to do a good sprint. In the intermediate sprint, I managed to take some points but I was not as well later on. I know there's another chance tomorrow and I will try to get another one and to score points to try and keep this green jersey."

The second stage of Paris-Nice started under a cloud, literally and figuratively, as all of France mourned the loss of three sportsmen in a helicopter crash in Argentina. The deaths included Nacer Bouhanni's friend and fellow boxer Alexis Vastine, 28, and the Cofidis rider started the day by wearing a black jersey in mourning.

The race also began without Tom Boonen (Etixx-Quickstep), who separated his shoulder and fractured his elbow in a crash in the opening stage, and will miss the Spring Classics as a result.

The first action of the day was a solo attack by Arnaud Gerard of Bretagne-Seche Environnement at the gun. The Frenchman was given a long leash, up to 8:25 at kilometer 60 as the peloton cruised along at only 35.3kph. After two hours, the speed had dropped to under 35kph.

The intermediate sprint in St. Pierre de Jards at 57.5km and St Amand Montrond at 127km provided some action, with Alexander Kristoff (Katusha) claiming the two bonus seconds over John Degenkolb (Giant-Alpecin) in the first, and Degenkolb beating Michael Matthews (Orica-GreenEdge) for the second sprint, both behind Gerard.

Cofidis and Europcar finally came to the front to spark a serious chase. By the time the race reached the only difficulty of the day, the cote de la Tour, Gerard's lead had dropped to just over a minute. Behind, him Philippe Gilbert (BMC) used the climb to try to spark a move. The Belgian was followed by Jonathan Hivert (Bretagne-Seche Environnement) and Laurens De Vreese (Astana) in a brief breakaway over the top, but the peloton was not willing to let them go. With 38km to race, the peloton was all back together.

Thanks to his point atop the hill, Hivert kept his polka dot jersey as best climber in the race.

With 30km to go, no team had committed to controlling the pace, but a few kilometers later, Cannondale-Garmin poured on the gas at the front, while at the back FDJ's Sebastian Chavanel punctured and faced a long, hard chase through the team cars.

Chavanel made it back, but with 13.2km to go, another French sprinter, Europcar's Bryan Coquard, punctured and focussed the French TV producer's attention at the back of the race.

With 10km to go, the pace let up, with Etixx-Quickstep, Lampre, Astana and Cannondale-Garmin all at the front but unwilling to expend too much energy. The slowing allowed Coquard to rejoin the peloton with teammate Thomas Voeckler's help.

Tony Martin (Etixx) lit up the pace with 9.5km to go, and only 7 seconds behind race leader and teammate Michal Kwiatkowski, he presented a potential new leader. He was joined by Geraint Thomas (Sky, +13 seconds) and Lars Boom (Astana, +10 seconds). Matthi Breschel (Tinkoff-Saxo) bridged across, but at 59 seconds on GC, he was less of a threat.

Lotto Soudal, LottoNl-Jumbo and Lampre brought the gap down to shouting distance, and Breschel threw in the towel, leaving the other three to fight to hold their lead.

The trio couldn't hold off the chase from Lotto-Soudal, and with 1.6km to go they were caught and the sprint was on.

Greipel lit out first and managed to hold off the charge from Degenkolb and Arnaud Demare to take his first win of Paris-Nice.

Full Results

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#Rider Name (Country) TeamResult
1André Greipel (Ger) Lotto Soudal4:30:18
2Arnaud Demare (Fra) FDJ.frRow 1 - Cell 2
3John Degenkolb (Ger) Team Giant-AlpecinRow 2 - Cell 2
4Michael Matthews (Aus) Orica GreenEdgeRow 3 - Cell 2
5Jose Joaquin Rojas (Spa) Movistar TeamRow 4 - Cell 2
6Nacer Bouhanni (Fra) Cofidis, Solutions CreditsRow 5 - Cell 2
7Moreno Hofland (Ned) Team LottoNL-JumboRow 6 - Cell 2
8Alexander Kristoff (Nor) Team KatushaRow 7 - Cell 2
9Jonas Vangenechten (Bel) IAM CyclingRow 8 - Cell 2
10Niccolo Bonifazio (Ita) Lampre-MeridaRow 9 - Cell 2
11Mickael Delage (Fra) FDJ.frRow 10 - Cell 2
12Borut Bozic (Slo) Astana Pro TeamRow 11 - Cell 2
13Giacomo Nizzolo (Ita) Trek Factory RacingRow 12 - Cell 2
14Yauheni Hutarovich (Blr) Bretagne-Séché EnvironnementRow 13 - Cell 2
15Michael Morkov (Den) Tinkoff-SaxoRow 14 - Cell 2
16Vicente Reynes (Spa) IAM CyclingRow 15 - Cell 2
17Michal Kwiatkowski (Pol) Etixx - Quick-StepRow 16 - Cell 2
18Bryan Coquard (Fra) Team EuropcarRow 17 - Cell 2
19Luis Leon Sanchez (Spa) Astana Pro TeamRow 18 - Cell 2
20Tony Martin (Ger) Etixx - Quick-StepRow 19 - Cell 2
21Jos Van Emden (Ned) Team LottoNL-JumboRow 20 - Cell 2
22Tom Dumoulin (Ned) Team Giant-AlpecinRow 21 - Cell 2
23Heinrich Haussler (Aus) IAM CyclingRow 22 - Cell 2
24Michael Valgren Andersen (Den) Tinkoff-SaxoRow 23 - Cell 2
25Wilco Kelderman (Ned) Team LottoNL-JumboRow 24 - Cell 2
26Silvan Dillier (Swi) BMC Racing TeamRow 25 - Cell 2
27Dominique Rollin (Can) Cofidis, Solutions CreditsRow 26 - Cell 2
28Greg Henderson (NZl) Lotto SoudalRow 27 - Cell 2
29Sylvain Chavanel (Fra) IAM CyclingRow 28 - Cell 2
30Daniel Mclay (GBr) Bretagne-Séché EnvironnementRow 29 - Cell 2
31Samuel Dumoulin (Fra) AG2R La MondialeRow 30 - Cell 2
32Gert Steegmans (Bel) Trek Factory RacingRow 31 - Cell 2
33Ben Swift (GBr) Team SkyRow 32 - Cell 2
34Richie Porte (Aus) Team SkyRow 33 - Cell 2
35Gorka Izagirre (Spa) Movistar TeamRow 34 - Cell 2
36Arthur Vichot (Fra) FDJ.frRow 35 - Cell 2
37Jakob Fuglsang (Den) Astana Pro TeamRow 36 - Cell 2
38Rafal Majka (Pol) Tinkoff-SaxoRow 37 - Cell 2
39Christian Meier (Can) Orica GreenEdgeRow 38 - Cell 2
40Eduardo Sepulveda (Arg) Bretagne-Séché EnvironnementRow 39 - Cell 2
41Johan Van Summeren (Bel) AG2R La MondialeRow 40 - Cell 2
42Fabio Aru (Ita) Astana Pro TeamRow 41 - Cell 2
43Warren Barguil (Fra) Team Giant-AlpecinRow 42 - Cell 2
44Rui Costa (Por) Lampre-MeridaRow 43 - Cell 2
45Robert Kiserlovski (Cro) Tinkoff-SaxoRow 44 - Cell 2
46Sergei Chernetski (Rus) Team KatushaRow 45 - Cell 2
47Geraint Thomas (GBr) Team SkyRow 46 - Cell 2
48Georg Preidler (Aut) Team Giant-AlpecinRow 47 - Cell 2
49Dayer Quintana (Col) Movistar TeamRow 48 - Cell 2
50Michael Schär (Swi) BMC Racing TeamRow 49 - Cell 2
51Tejay Van Garderen (USA) BMC Racing TeamRow 50 - Cell 2
52Romain Bardet (Fra) AG2R La MondialeRow 51 - Cell 2
53Peter Velits (Svk) BMC Racing TeamRow 52 - Cell 2
54Cyril Gautier (Fra) Team EuropcarRow 53 - Cell 2
55Ruben Fernandez (Spa) Movistar TeamRow 54 - Cell 2
56Andrew Talansky (USA) Cannondale-Garmin Pro Cycling TeamRow 55 - Cell 2
57Jack Bauer (NZl) Cannondale-Garmin Pro Cycling TeamRow 56 - Cell 2
58Bram Tankink (Ned) Team LottoNL-JumboRow 57 - Cell 2
59Philippe Gilbert (Bel) BMC Racing TeamRow 58 - Cell 2
60Steven Kruijswijk (Ned) Team LottoNL-JumboRow 59 - Cell 2
61Koen De Kort (Ned) Team Giant-AlpecinRow 60 - Cell 2
62Ion Izagirre (Spa) Movistar TeamRow 61 - Cell 2
63Jan Bakelants (Bel) AG2R La MondialeRow 62 - Cell 2
64Pawel Poljanski (Pol) Tinkoff-SaxoRow 63 - Cell 2
65Ruben Plaza Molina (Spa) Lampre-MeridaRow 64 - Cell 2
66Nelson Oliveira (Por) Lampre-MeridaRow 65 - Cell 2
67Michal Golas (Pol) Etixx - Quick-StepRow 66 - Cell 2
68Tim Wellens (Bel) Lotto SoudalRow 67 - Cell 2
69Jean-Christophe Peraud (Fra) AG2R La MondialeRow 68 - Cell 2
70Mathias Frank (Swi) IAM CyclingRow 69 - Cell 2
71Rafael Valls Ferri (Spa) Lampre-MeridaRow 70 - Cell 2
72Simon Spilak (Slo) Team KatushaRow 71 - Cell 2
73Mikael Cherel (Fra) AG2R La MondialeRow 72 - Cell 2
74Tiago Machado (Por) Team KatushaRow 73 - Cell 2
75Nikolas Maes (Bel) Etixx - Quick-StepRow 74 - Cell 2
76Paolo Tiralongo (Ita) Astana Pro TeamRow 75 - Cell 2
77Romain Sicard (Fra) Team EuropcarRow 76 - Cell 2
78Yury Trofimov (Rus) Team KatushaRow 77 - Cell 2
79Ramon Sinkeldam (Ned) Team Giant-AlpecinRow 78 - Cell 2
80Simon Yates (GBr) Orica GreenEdgeRow 79 - Cell 2
81Imanol Erviti (Spa) Movistar TeamRow 80 - Cell 2
82Dries Devenyns (Bel) IAM CyclingRow 81 - Cell 2
83Maxime Bouet (Fra) Etixx - Quick-StepRow 82 - Cell 2
84Florian Vachon (Fra) Bretagne-Séché EnvironnementRow 83 - Cell 2
85Rein Taaramae (Est) Astana Pro TeamRow 84 - Cell 2
86Roy Curvers (Ned) Team Giant-AlpecinRow 85 - Cell 2
87Eros Capecchi (Ita) Movistar TeamRow 86 - Cell 2
88Luis Angel Mate (Spa) Cofidis, Solutions CreditsRow 87 - Cell 2
89Lars Petter Nordhaug (Nor) Team SkyRow 88 - Cell 2
90Lars Boom (Ned) Astana Pro TeamRow 89 - Cell 2
91Yohann Gene (Fra) Team EuropcarRow 90 - Cell 2
92Egor Silin (Rus) Team KatushaRow 91 - Cell 2
93Bob Jungels (Lux) Trek Factory RacingRow 92 - Cell 2
94Tom Jelte Slagter (Ned) Cannondale-Garmin Pro Cycling TeamRow 93 - Cell 2
95Rohan Dennis (Aus) BMC Racing TeamRow 94 - Cell 2
96Chris Anker Sörensen (Den) Tinkoff-SaxoRow 95 - Cell 2
97Pierrick Fedrigo (Fra) Bretagne-Séché EnvironnementRow 96 - Cell 2
98Jérôme Pineau (Fra) IAM CyclingRow 97 - Cell 2
99Amaël Moinard (Fra) BMC Racing TeamRow 98 - Cell 2
100Ben Gastauer (Lux) AG2R La MondialeRow 99 - Cell 2
101Anthony Delaplace (Fra) Bretagne-Séché EnvironnementRow 100 - Cell 2
102Jonathan Hivert (Fra) Bretagne-Séché EnvironnementRow 101 - Cell 2
103Benat Intxausti (Spa) Movistar TeamRow 102 - Cell 2
104Nicolas Edet (Fra) Cofidis, Solutions CreditsRow 103 - Cell 2
105Laurent Pichon (Fra) FDJ.frRow 104 - Cell 2
106George Bennett (NZl) Team LottoNL-JumboRow 105 - Cell 2
107Benjamin King (USA) Cannondale-Garmin Pro Cycling TeamRow 106 - Cell 2
108Nicolas Roche (Irl) Team SkyRow 107 - Cell 2
109Sergio Paulinho (Por) Tinkoff-SaxoRow 108 - Cell 2
110Ben Hermans (Bel) BMC Racing TeamRow 109 - Cell 2
111Arnaud Gerard (Fra) Bretagne-Séché EnvironnementRow 110 - Cell 2
112Lars Ytting Bak (Den) Lotto SoudalRow 111 - Cell 2
113Florian Senechal (Fra) Cofidis, Solutions CreditsRow 112 - Cell 2
114Thomas De Gendt (Bel) Lotto SoudalRow 113 - Cell 2
115Jonas Ahlstrand (Swe) Cofidis, Solutions CreditsRow 114 - Cell 2
116Tony Gallopin (Fra) Lotto SoudalRow 115 - Cell 2
117Kristof Vandewalle (Bel) Trek Factory RacingRow 116 - Cell 2
118Riccardo Zoidl (Aut) Trek Factory RacingRow 117 - Cell 2
119Maarten Tjallingii (Ned) Team LottoNL-JumboRow 118 - Cell 2
120Arnold Jeannesson (Fra) FDJ.frRow 119 - Cell 2
121Christian Knees (Ger) Team SkyRow 120 - Cell 2
122Dylan Van Baarle (Ned) Cannondale-Garmin Pro Cycling TeamRow 121 - Cell 2
123Marco Coledan (Ita) Trek Factory RacingRow 122 - Cell 2
124Sebastian Langeveld (Ned) Cannondale-Garmin Pro Cycling TeamRow 123 - Cell 2
125Laurens De Vreese (Bel) Astana Pro TeamRow 124 - Cell 2
126Stijn Vandenbergh (Bel) Etixx - Quick-StepRow 125 - Cell 2
127Jacopo Guarnieri (Ita) Team KatushaRow 126 - Cell 2
128Matteo Bono (Ita) Lampre-MeridaRow 127 - Cell 2
129Sébastien Chavanel (Fra) FDJ.frRow 128 - Cell 2
130Jens Keukeleire (Bel) Orica GreenEdge0:00:23
131Mitchell Docker (Aus) Orica GreenEdgeRow 130 - Cell 2
132Adam Hansen (Aus) Lotto Soudal0:00:24
133Marcel Sieberg (Ger) Lotto SoudalRow 132 - Cell 2
134Julian Alaphilippe (Fra) Etixx - Quick-Step0:00:27
135Angelo Tulik (Fra) Team EuropcarRow 134 - Cell 2
136Bryan Nauleau (Fra) Team EuropcarRow 135 - Cell 2
137Antoine Duchesne (Can) Team EuropcarRow 136 - Cell 2
138Viacheslav Kuznetsov (Rus) Team KatushaRow 137 - Cell 2
139Alex Howes (USA) Cannondale-Garmin Pro Cycling TeamRow 138 - Cell 2
140Eugenio Alafaci (Ita) Trek Factory RacingRow 139 - Cell 2
141Daryl Impey (RSA) Orica GreenEdgeRow 140 - Cell 2
142Bradley Wiggins (GBr) Team SkyRow 141 - Cell 2
143William Bonnet (Fra) FDJ.frRow 142 - Cell 2
144Sébastien Minard (Fra) AG2R La MondialeRow 143 - Cell 2
145Edward King (USA) Cannondale-Garmin Pro Cycling TeamRow 144 - Cell 2
146Luke Rowe (GBr) Team SkyRow 145 - Cell 2
147Maarten Wynants (Bel) Team LottoNL-JumboRow 146 - Cell 2
148Anthony Roux (Fra) FDJ.fr0:00:33
149Zico Waeytens (Bel) Team Giant-Alpecin0:00:42
150Grégory Rast (Swi) Trek Factory Racing0:00:53
151Davide Cimolai (Ita) Lampre-MeridaRow 150 - Cell 2
152Cyril Lemoine (Fra) Cofidis, Solutions Credits0:01:12
153David Tanner (Aus) IAM Cycling0:01:26
154Simon Clarke (Aus) Orica GreenEdgeRow 153 - Cell 2
155Michael Albasini (Swi) Orica GreenEdge0:02:08
156Mario Costa (Por) Lampre-Merida0:03:38
157Matti Breschel (Den) Tinkoff-Saxo0:03:39
158Thomas Voeckler (Fra) Team Europcar0:05: