Paris-Nice: Demare wins stage 1

Arnaud Démare (FDJ) claimed the first yellow jersey of Paris-Nice after he beat Julian Alaphilippe (Quick-Step Floors) in a two-up sprint at the end of a breathless opening stage that saw Romain Bardet (AG2R La Mondiale) excluded from the race for drafting behind a team car.

Demare and Alaphilippe were part of an elite selection that formed in crosswinds an hour into the stage, and then fragmented on the final approach to the finish line. When Alaphilippe attacked on a short climb with a little over a kilometre to go, Démare had no hesitation in bridging across, and then claimed a convincing win in the ensuing sprint.

Alexander Kristoff (Katusha-Alpecin) beat Philippe Gilbert (Quick-Step) in the sprint for third, 9 seconds behind, but the time gaps of greatest interest were those to the general classification contenders who had missed the initial split, as Bardet and Richie Porte (BMC) conceded 47 seconds, while Alberto Contador (Trek-Segafredo) came home 1:04 down.

Bardet's relief at limiting the damage was short-lived, however, as the commissaires took a dim view of the way he latched back on to the chasing group after he went down in a crash with 25 kilometres remaining. Shortly after the stage, the jury announced that he had been disqualified.

Bardet, Porte and Contador, along with Ilnur Zakarin (Katusha-Alpecin) and Simon Yates (Orica-Scott) were among those to miss the bus when the peloton was broken into echelons with 100 kilometres remaining, and for most of the afternoon, they remained locked in grim pursuit, a little over a minute down.

Up ahead, Dan Martin (Quick-Step), Tony Gallopin (Lotto Soudal) and Sergio Henao (Sky) were the chief beneficiaries in the battle for overall victory, while the front group also contained a retinue of fast men, namely Démare, Marcel Kittel (Quick-Step), André Greipel (Lotto Soudal), Kristoff and Bryan Coquard (Direct Energie).

Just when a reduced group sprint seemed inevitable, however, FDJ began to apply pressure on a series of rises in the final five kilometres, and their work saw Coquard, Greipel and Kittel deposited out the back of the group in quick succession. In the absence of Kittel, Quick-Step turned to plan B in the shape of Alaphilippe’s punchy attack as the road kicked up just before the flamme rouge, but Démare was wise to the danger.

Eager to avoid a confrontation with Kristoff, perhaps, Démare proceeded to commit wholeheartedly to the attack, zooming straight to the front and leading all the way into the finishing straight. Though forced to lead out, Démare stalled enough to force Alaphilippe into the wind to open his sprint first. The FDJ man then came past Alaphilippe inside the final 150 metres to claim an emphatic win.

"The way the race played out changed everything for the finale," Démare said of his decision to track Alaphilippe's move. "Everybody was tired, so I didn't expect a sprint at the end. Still, it was hard to follow Alaphilippe at the end, but I managed it.

"It an attacking race today, and we took the initiative. I enjoyed the whole stage. There were fewer riders than we expected in the finale but it was a crazy race. We were chasing to bring down the break and so when we hit the crosswinds, we were already at the front before the split happened. I think that caught a lot of people out."

How it unfolded

The short opening stage of Paris-Nice, starting and finishing in Bois-d'Arcy, was essentially made up of two laps of a 74-kilometre circuit, and though the flat parcours lent itself to the sprinters, the repeated changes in direction meant that the threat of echelons on flat, wind-exposed roads was ever-present.

The peloton was flagged away in sodden conditions, but the stage began relatively calmly, with Sylvain Chavanel (Direct Energie) forging clear in the company of Kristian Koren (Cannondale-Drapac), Romain Hardy (Fortuneo-Vital Concept) and Gatis Smukulis (Delko Marseille Provence KTM). After 50 kilometres, the quartet had a lead of six minutes, but behind, the relative détente was broken in the crosswinds.

FDJ, already at the front to keep tabs on the break's lead, were joined by a strong Quick-Step delegation, and their combined efforts tore the peloton asunder, splitting it into four groups, with Contador, Porte, Bardet, Zakarin, Yates, Steven Kruijswijk (LottoNL-Jumbo) and Nacer Bouhanni (Cofidis) among those caught behind.

Despite the chaos, the chasers managed to keep their deficit to manageable dimensions at first, and shortly after the race returned to Bois-d'Arcy for the first time, Porte, Contador et al had closed to within half a minute of the front echelon.

Shortly after the Démare group absorbed the early escapees with 60 kilometres remaining, however, the gap yawned outwards all over again, with Lotto Soudal particularly to the fore as Greipel sacrificed his sprint chances to put in a wholehearted afternoon of work in the service of Gallopin.

Other riders in the group, which numbered 29 riders at that point, included Sky's Sergio Henao and Luke Rowe, six Quick-Step riders, among them Alaphilippe, Dan Martin, Kittel and Gilbert, as well as Gorka Izaguirre (Movistar). As the gap nudged out towards 1:25 inside the final 30 kilometres, however, they began to lose some bodies, including Ion Izaguirre (Bahrain-Merida).

Behind, BMC, Trek-Segafredo and Orica-Scott all contributed to the pursuit but it wasn't until Tony Martin (Katusha-Alpecin) put in a series of mammoth turns that they finally began to claw back some of the ground on the leaders. Bardet's tumble with 25 kilometres remaining cost the chasers some of their firepower. The Frenchman succeeded in chasing back, thinking he had salvaged his overall aspirations, only to be excluded after the finish.

Démare sits atop the general classification, four seconds clear of Alaphillipe thanks his winner's time bonus, while Tony Gallopin, Dan Martin and Sergio Henao, 19 seconds back, are the best-placed of the men with designs on the final podium.

Full Results

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#Rider Name (Country) TeamResult
1Arnaud Demare (Fra) FDJ3:22:43
2Julian Alaphilippe (Fra) Quick-Step FloorsRow 1 - Cell 2
3Alexander Kristoff (Nor) Katusha-Alpecin0:00:09
4Philippe Gilbert (Bel) Quick-Step FloorsRow 3 - Cell 2
5Romain Hardy (Fra) Fortuneo - Vital ConceptRow 4 - Cell 2
6Daniel Martin (Irl) Quick-Step FloorsRow 5 - Cell 2
7Tony Gallopin (Fra) Lotto SoudalRow 6 - Cell 2
8Marco Haller (Aut) Katusha-AlpecinRow 7 - Cell 2
9Sergio Henao (Col) Team SkyRow 8 - Cell 2
10Rudy Molard (Fra) FDJRow 9 - Cell 2
11Kristijan Koren (Slo) Cannondale-Drapac0:00:19
12Gorka Izagirre (Spa) Movistar TeamRow 11 - Cell 2
13André Greipel (Ger) Lotto Soudal0:00:37
14Yves Lampaert (Bel) Quick-Step FloorsRow 13 - Cell 2
15Jacopo Guarnieri (Ita) FDJRow 14 - Cell 2
16Richie Porte (Aus) BMC Racing Team0:00:47
17Ilnur Zakarin (Rus) Katusha-AlpecinRow 16 - Cell 2
18Jelle Wallays (Bel) Lotto Soudal0:00:52
19Warren Barguil (Fra) Team Sunweb0:01:03
20Alberto Contador (Spa) Trek-Segafredo0:01:04
21Davide Formolo (Ita) Cannondale-DrapacRow 20 - Cell 2
22Ion Izagirre (Spa) Bahrain-MeridaRow 21 - Cell 2
23Simon Yates (GBr) Orica-ScottRow 22 - Cell 2
24Imanol Erviti (Spa) Movistar Team0:01:11
25Jack Bauer (NZl) Quick-Step Floors0:01:14
26Marcel Kittel (Ger) Quick-Step Floors0:01:17
27Sylvain Chavanel (Fra) Direct Energie0:01:28
28Tony Martin (Ger) Katusha-AlpecinRow 27 - Cell 2
29David De La Cruz (Spa) Quick-Step Floors0:01:34
30Christian Knees (Ger) Team Sky0:01:57
31Lars Ytting Bak (Den) Lotto SoudalRow 30 - Cell 2
32Nicolas Roche (Irl) BMC Racing TeamRow 31 - Cell 2
33Sven Erik Bystrøm (Nor) Katusha-AlpecinRow 32 - Cell 2
34Sam Bennett (Irl) Bora-Hansgrohe0:02:03
35Luke Rowe (GBr) Team Sky0:02:05
36Steven Kruijswijk (Ned) Team LottoNl-Jumbo0:02:28
37Davide Cimolai (Ita) FDJ0:02:56
38Magnus Cort Nielsen (Den) Orica-ScottRow 37 - Cell 2
39Gatis Smukulis (Lat) Delko Marseille Provence KTM0:03:09
40Oliver le Gac (Fra) FDJ0:03:59
41Bram Tankink (Ned) Team LottoNl-Jumbo0:03:43
42Jelle Vanendert (Bel) Lotto SoudalRow 41 - Cell 2
43Bryan Coquard (Fra) Direct Energie0:04:03
44Jarlinson Pantano (Col) Trek-Segafredo0:04:35
45Danilo Wyss (Swi) BMC Racing Team0:05:35
46Zico Waeytens (Bel) Team Sunweb0:09:05
47John Degenkolb (Ger) Trek-SegafredoRow 46 - Cell 2
48Mitchell Docker (Aus) Orica-ScottRow 47 - Cell 2
49Michael Albasini (Swi) Orica-Scott0:11:04
50Tsgabu Grmay (Eth) Bahrain-MeridaRow 49 - Cell 2
51Mathew Hayman (Aus) Orica-ScottRow 50 - Cell 2
52Julien Morice (Fra) Direct EnergieRow 51 - Cell 2
53Grega Bole (Slo) Bahrain-Merida0:12:20
54Moreno Hofland (Ned) Lotto Soudal0:16:10
55Thomas De Gendt (Bel) Lotto SoudalRow 54 - Cell 2
56Stef Clement (Ned) Team LottoNl-JumboRow 55 - Cell 2
57Delio Fernandez (Spa) Delko Marseille Provence KTMRow 56 - Cell 2
58Michael Matthews (Aus) Team SunwebRow 57 - Cell 2
59Adam Hansen (Aus) Lotto SoudalRow 58 - Cell 2
60Diego Ulissi (Ita) Team UAE EmiratesRow 59 - Cell 2
61Francisco Ventoso (Spa) BMC Racing TeamRow 60 - Cell 2
62Mauro Finetto (Ita) Delko Marseille Provence KTMRow 61 - Cell 2
63Nacer Bouhanni (Fra) Cofidis, Solutions CreditsRow 62 - Cell 2
64Reinardt Janse Van Rensburg (RSA) Dimension DataRow 63 - Cell 2
65Kristian Sbaragli (Ita) Dimension DataRow 64 - Cell 2
66Jan Polanc (Slo) Team UAE EmiratesRow 65 - Cell 2
67Axel Domont (Fra) AG2R La MondialeRow 66 - Cell 2
68Stijn Vandenbergh (Bel) AG2R La MondialeRow 67 - Cell 2
69Gregory Rast (Swi) Trek-SegafredoRow 68 - Cell 2
70Pierre Roger Latour (Fra) AG2R La MondialeRow 69 - Cell 2
71Sonny Colbrelli (Ita) Bahrain-MeridaRow 70 - Cell 2
72Julien El Fares (Fra) Delko Marseille Provence KTMRow 71 - Cell 2
73Sam Oomen (Ned) Team SunwebRow 72 - Cell 2
74Michal Golas (Pol) Team SkyRow 73 - Cell 2
75Laurens De Vreese (Bel) Astana Pro TeamRow 74 - Cell 2
76Robert Wagner (Ger) Team LottoNl-JumboRow 75 - Cell 2
77Dylan Groenewegen (Ned) Team LottoNl-JumboRow 76 - Cell 2
78Baptiste Planckaert (Bel) Katusha-AlpecinRow 77 - Cell 2
79Jakob Fuglsang (Den) Astana Pro TeamRow 78 - Cell 2
80Michael Valgren Andersen (Den) Astana Pro TeamRow 79 - Cell 2
81Fabio Sabatini (Ita) Quick-Step FloorsRow 80 - Cell 2
82Tom-Jelte Slagter (Ned) Cannondale-DrapacRow 81 - Cell 2
83Manuele Mori (Ita) Team UAE EmiratesRow 82 - Cell 2
84Omar Fraile (Spa) Dimension DataRow 83 - Cell 2
85Timo Roosen (Ned) Team LottoNl-JumboRow 84 - Cell 2
86Haimar Zubeldia (Spa) Trek-SegafredoRow 85 - Cell 2
87Enrico Gasparotto (Ita) Bahrain-MeridaRow 86 - Cell 2
88Victor De La Parte (Spa) Movistar TeamRow 87 - Cell 2
89Winner Anacona (Col) Movistar TeamRow 88 - Cell 2
90Dylan Teuns (Bel) BMC Racing TeamRow 89 - Cell 2
91Maxime Bouet (Fra) Fortuneo - Vital ConceptRow 90 - Cell 2
92Nikias Arndt (Ger) Team SunwebRow 91 - Cell 2
93Marc Soler (Spa) Movistar TeamRow 92 - Cell 2
94Patrick Konrad (Aut) Bora-HansgroheRow 93 - Cell 2
95Quentin Pacher (Fra) Delko Marseille Provence KTMRow 94 - Cell 2
96Jan Bárta (Cze) Bora-HansgroheRow 95 - Cell 2
97Arnaud Gerard (Fra) Fortuneo - Vital ConceptRow 96 - Cell 2
98Laurent Pichon (Fra) Fortuneo - Vital ConceptRow 97 - Cell 2
99Tanel Kangert (Est) Astana Pro TeamRow 98 - Cell 2
100Simon Gerrans (Aus) Orica-ScottRow 99 - Cell 2
101Roy Curvers (Ned) Team SunwebRow 100 - Cell 2
102Sebastian Henao (Col) Team SkyRow 101 - Cell 2
103José Mendes (Por) Bora-HansgroheRow 102 - Cell 2
104Thomas Leezer (Ned) Team LottoNl-JumboRow 103 - Cell 2
105Eduardo Sepulveda (Arg) Fortuneo - Vital ConceptRow 104 - Cell 2
106Julien Simon (Fra) Cofidis, Solutions CreditsRow 105 - Cell 2
107Ben Swift (GBr) Team UAE EmiratesRow 106 - Cell 2
108Antione Duchesne (Can) Direct EnergieRow 107 - Cell 2
109Romain Combaud (Fra) Delko Marseille Provence KTMRow 108 - Cell 2
110Tyler Farrar (USA) Dimension DataRow 109 - Cell 2
111Edward Theuns (Bel) Trek-SegafredoRow 110 - Cell 2
112Michael Morkov (Den) Katusha-AlpecinRow 111 - Cell 2
113Maarten Wynants (Bel) Team LottoNl-JumboRow 112 - Cell 2
114Erik Baska (Svk) Bora-HansgroheRow 113 - Cell 2
115Ben King (USA) Dimension DataRow 114 - Cell 2
116Mathias Frank (Swi) AG2R La MondialeRow 115 - Cell 2
117Mikel Nieve (Spa) Team SkyRow 116 - Cell 2
118Youcef Reguigui (Alg) Dimension DataRow 117 - Cell 2
119Adrien Petit (Fra) Direct EnergieRow 118 - Cell 2
120Tom Stamsnijder (Ned) Team SunwebRow 119 - Cell 2
121David Lopez (Spa) Team SkyRow 120 - Cell 2
122Michael Gogl (Pol) Trek-SegafredoRow 121 - Cell 2
123Alberto Losada (Spa) Katusha-AlpecinRow 122 - Cell 2
124Borut Bozic (Slo) Bahrain-MeridaRow 123 - Cell 2
125Lilian Calmejane (Fra) Direct EnergieRow 124 - Cell 2
126Christophe Laporte (Fra) Cofidis, Solutions CreditsRow 125 - Cell 2
127Geoffrey Soupe (Fra) Cofidis, Solutions CreditsRow 126 - Cell 2
128Cyril Lemoine (Fra) Cofidis, Solutions CreditsRow 127 - Cell 2
129Florian Senechal (Fra) Cofidis, Solutions CreditsRow 128 - Cell 2
130José Herrada (Spa) MovistarRow 129 - Cell 2
131Cyril Gautier (Fra) AG2R La MondialeRow 130 - Cell 2
132Natnael Berhane (Eri) Dimension DataRow 131 - Cell 2
133Juraj Sagan (Svk) Bora-HansgroheRow 132 - Cell 2
134Mickael Delage (Fra) FDJRow 133 - Cell 2
135Marc Sarreau (Fra) FDJRow 134 - Cell 2
136Luka Pibernik (Slo) Bahrain-MeridaRow 135 - Cell 2
137Lawson Craddock (USA) Cannondale-DrapacRow 136 - Cell 2
138Alexey Lutsenko (Kaz) Astana Pro TeamRow 137 - Cell 2
139Oliver Naesen (Bel) AG2R La MondialeRow 138 - Cell 2
140Rory Sutherland (Aus) Movistar TeamRow 139 - Cell 2
141Pierre Luc Perichon (Fra) Fortuneo - Vital ConceptRow 140 - Cell 2
142Jesus Herrada (Spa) Movistar TeamRow 141 - Cell 2
143Philip Deignan (Irl) Team SkyRow 142 - Cell 2
144Christopher Juul Jensen (Den) Orica-ScottRow 143 - Cell 2
145Simon Geschke (Ger) Team SunwebRow 144 - Cell 2
146Ignatas Konovalovas (Ltu) FDJRow 145 - Cell 2
147Alessandro De Marchi (Ita) BMC Racing TeamRow 146 - Cell 2
148Arnold Jeannesson (Fra) Fortuneo - Vital ConceptRow 147 - Cell 2
149Angelo Tulik (Fra) Direct Energie0:17:13
150Daniel Mclay (GBr) Fortuneo - Vital Concept0:17:25
151Evaldas Siskevicius (Ltu) Delko Marseille Provence KTM0:18:43
152Michal Kolár (Svk) Bora-HansgroheRow 151 - Cell 2
153Jesus Hernandez Blazquez (Spa) Trek-SegafredoRow 152 - Cell 2
154Remy Di Gregorio (Fra) Delko Marseille Provence KTMRow 153 - Cell 2
155Ruslan Tleubayev (Kaz) Astana Pro TeamRow 154 - Cell 2
156Riccardo Minali (Ita) Astana Pro TeamRow 155 - Cell 2
157Nicolas Edet (Fra) Cofidis, Solutions CreditsRow 156 - Cell 2
158Serge Pauwels (Bel) Dimension DataRow 157 - Cell 2
159Jens Keukeleire (Bel) Orica-ScottRow 158 - Cell 2
160Andrea Guardini (Ita) Team UAE EmiratesRow 159 - Cell 2
161Davide Villella (Ita) Cannondale-DrapacRow 160 - Cell 2
162Michael Woods (Can) Cannondale-DrapacRow 161 - Cell 2
163Mikael Cherel (Fra) AG2R La MondialeRow 162 - Cell 2
164Amaël Moinard (Fra) BMC Racing TeamRow 163 - Cell 2
165Pierre Rolland (Fra) Cannondale-DrapacRow 164 - Cell 2
166Matti Breschel (Den) Astana Pro TeamRow 165 - Cell 2
167Simone Petilli (Ita) Team UAE EmiratesRow 166 - Cell 2
168Joseph Dombrowski (USA) Cannondale-DrapacRow 167 - Cell 2
169Federico Zurlo (Ita) Team UAE EmiratesRow 168 - Cell 2
170Dimitri Claeys (Bel) Cofidis, Solutions CreditsRow 169 - Cell 2
171Niccolo Bonifazio (Ita) Bahrain-Merida0:18:49
DNFEmanuel Buchmann (Ger) Bora-HansgroheRow 171 - Cell 2
DNFMatteo Bono (Ita) Team UAE EmiratesRow 172 - Cell 2
DNFMichael Schar (Swi) BMC Racing TeamRow 173 - Cell 2
OTLJonathan Hivert (Fra) Direct EnergieRow 174 - Cell 2
DSQRomain Bardet (Fra) AG2R La MondialeRow 175 - Cell 2
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Sprint 1 - Beynes 55km
#Rider Name (Country) TeamResultHeader Cell - Column 3
1Sylvain Chavanel (Fra) Direct Energie3pts
2Davide Formolo (Ita) Cannondale-Drapac2Row 1 - Cell 3
3Romain Hardy (Fra) Fortuneo - Vital Concept1Row 2 - Cell 3
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Sprint 2 - Beynes 132.5km
#Rider Name (Country) TeamResultHeader Cell - Column 3
1Philippe Gilbert (Bel) Quick-Step Floors3pts
2Tony Gallopin (Fra) Lotto Soudal2Row 1 - Cell 3
3André Greipel (Ger) Lotto Soudal1Row 2 - Cell 3
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Finish line - 148.5km
#Rider Name (Country) TeamResultHeader Cell - Column 3
1Arnaud Demare (Fra) FDJ15pts
2Julian Alaphilippe (Fra) Quick-Step Floors12Row 1 - Cell 3
3Alexander Kristoff (Nor) Katusha-Alpecin9Row 2 - Cell 3
4Philippe Gilbert (Bel) Quick-Step Floors7Row 3 - Cell 3
5Romain Hardy (Fra) Fortuneo - Vital Concept6Row 4 - Cell 3
6Daniel Martin (Irl) Quick-Step Floors5Row 5 - Cell 3
7Tony Gallopin (Fra) Lotto Soudal4Row 6 - Cell 3
8Marco Haller (Aut) Katusha-Alpecin3Row 7 - Cell 3
9Sergio Henao (Col) Team Sky2Row 8 - Cell 3
10Rudy Molard (Fra) FDJ1Row 9 - Cell 3
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KOM 1 - Côte de Senlisse 19.5km
#Rider Name (Country) TeamResultHeader Cell - Column 3
1Romain Hardy (Fra) Fortuneo - Vital Concept4pts
2Sylvain Chavanel (Fra) Direct Energie2Row 1 - Cell 3
3Kristijan Koren (Slo) Cannondale-Drapac1Row 2 - Cell 3
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KOM 2 - Côte de Senlisse 97.5km
#Rider Name (Country) TeamResultHeader Cell - Column 3
1Romain Hardy (Fra) Fortuneo - Vital Concept4pts
2Luke Rowe (GBr) Team Sky2Row 1 - Cell 3
3Jelle Wallays (Bel) Lotto Soudal1Row 2 - Cell 3
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General Classification after stage 1
#Rider Name (Country) TeamResult
1Arnaud Demare (Fra) FDJ3:22:33
2Julian Alaphilippe (Fra) Quick-Step Floors0:00:04
3Alexander Kristoff (Nor) Katusha-Alpecin0:00:15
4Philippe Gilbert (Bel) Quick-Step Floors0:00:16
5Tony Gallopin (Fra) Lotto Soudal0:00:17
6Romain Hardy (Fra) Fortuneo - Vital Concept0:00:18
7Daniel Martin (Irl) Quick-Step Floors0:00:19
8Marco Haller (Aut) Katusha-AlpecinRow 7 - Cell 2
9Sergio Henao (Col) Team SkyRow 8 - Cell 2
10Rudy Molard (Fra) FDJRow 9 - Cell 2
11Kristijan Koren (Slo) Cannondale-Drapac0:00:27
12Gorka Izagirre (Spa) Movistar Team0:00:29
13André Greipel (Ger) Lotto Soudal0:00:46
14Yves Lampaert (Bel) Quick-Step Floors0:00:47
15Jacopo Guarnieri (Ita) FDJRow 14 - Cell 2
16Richie Porte (Aus) BMC Racing Team0:00:57
17Ilnur Zakarin (Rus) Katusha-AlpecinRow 16 - Cell 2
18Jelle Wallays (Bel) Lotto Soudal0:01:02
19Warren Barguil (Fra) Team Sunweb0:01:13
20Alberto Contador (Spa) Trek-Segafredo0:01:14
21Davide Formolo (Ita) Cannondale-DrapacRow 20 - Cell 2
22Ion Izagirre (Spa) Bahrain-MeridaRow 21 - Cell 2
23Simon Yates (GBr) Orica-ScottRow 22 - Cell 2
24Imanol Erviti (Spa) Movistar Team0:01:21
25Jack Bauer (NZl) Quick-Step Floors0:01:24
26Marcel Kittel (Ger) Quick-Step Floors0:01:27
27Sylvain Chavanel (Fra) Direct Energie0:01:35
28Tony Martin (Ger) Katusha-Alpecin0:01:38
29David De La Cruz (Spa) Quick-Step Floors0:01:44