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Paris-Nice 2019: Stage 2

Good morning and welcome to our live coverage from stage 2 of Paris-Nice. We had quite a stage yesterday with Dylan Groenewegen winning ahead of Caleb Ewan, and taking the first leader's jersey of this year's race. The stage was battered by cross-winds and we saw a number of riders hit the deck and abandon. A number of GC hopefuls were also unable to match the pace of the leading group and lost time. The race is already shaping up to be real tussle of attrition. 
 


Just a heads up the stage today was delayed by ten minutes due to strong tailwinds but we're about to get going. How exciting.

 

We had a wonderful sporting weekend, come to think of it. Two great editions of Strade Bianche, the opening stage of Paris-Nice and of course Manchester United lurching towards a humbling defeat at the hands of Arsenal at the Emirates stadium on Sunday afternoon. As Bjørge Lillelien might say 'Sir Alex, Usain Bolt, Eamonn Holmes, Mick Hucknall and density of the population from around Surrey, who probably haven't ventured north, 'your boys took a hell of a beating'.

 

You can catch up with all the action from the women's Strade Bianche, right here. The action and round-up from the men's race is right here.

 

Before we start today's action and I receive of volley of abuse from the two Mick Hucknell fans still out there, lets take a look at the GC heading into today's stage. The key riders below are Sanchez, who contested two intermediate sprints and picked up five seconds and Egan Bernal who looks really strong in the cross-winds. 

 

1 Dylan Groenewegen (Ned) Team Jumbo-Visma 3:17:25
2 Caleb Ewan (Aus) Lotto Soudal 0:00:04
3 Luis León Sanchez (Spa) Astana Pro Team 0:00:05
4 Michal Kwiatkowski (Pol) Team Sky
5 Fabio Jakobsen (Ned) Deceuninck-QuickStep 0:00:06
6 Egan Bernal (Col) Team Sky 0:00:09
7 Rudy Molard (Fra) Groupama-FDJ
8 Sam Bennett (Irl) Bora-Hansgrohe 0:00:10
9 John Degenkolb (Ger) Trek-Segafredo
10 Matteo Trentin (Ita) Mitchelton-Scott

 

The 165km between Les Bréviaires and the finish in Bellegarde are up and down for the majority of the stage. There are just two third category climbs in the first half of the race but with blustery conditions once more and the rolling terrain the GC riders will need to pay attention. Team Sky, Jumbo Visma and Astana all looked strong on stage 1, although last year's winner Marc Soler lost 1:31 and is out of the picture at this stage of the race. You can catch up on yesterday's action with our race report, right here.

 

If you have time, we've also put together this piece on the riders who have lost time on GC. They include:
 

Tejay van Garderen (EF Education First) at 2:51, Domenico Pozzovio (Bahrain-Merida) at 2:48, Louis Meintjes (Dimension Data) at 2:44, Miguel Angel Lopez (Astana) at 1:04, defending champion Marc Soler (Movistar) at 1:03 and Esteban Chaves (Mitchelton-Scott) at 1:02.

 

159km remaining from 163km

In the race and the strong tailwind has seen a break already form. Just like yesterday we've three riders involved. This time it's Damien Gaudin (Direct Energie), Nicolas Edet (Cofidis) and Alessandro De Marchi (CCC). That's one strong break. They have 50 seconds after 4km of racing.

 

With no GC threat up the road the peloton are likely to let this one go for the next few hours before the sprinters' teams take over. The break will hope that the tailwind will assist them in building a lead and then hold the peloton at bay once the chase really starts. Gaudin was on the attack yesterday, but in the finale, when he went away with Barguil but the Direct Enegie rider isn't keen to wait that long again as he takes a long turn on the front of the three-man move.

 

Gaudin, of course, won a stage in Paris-Nice. It came way back in 2013, when he beat Chavanel to the win in the opening prologue. Team Sky went onto win that edition of the race, in fact they've won it five times since Wiggins pulled on yellow in 2012. Although that domination is nothing compared to Sean Kelly, who won the race every year from 1982 to 1988.

 

152km remaining from 163km

Back to the action and the trio out front have only managed to add another five seconds to their lead. It currently stands at 55 seconds with 152km to go. Deceuninck-QuickStep are the team leading the chase. The Belgian team has won four from four one-day WorldTour races so far this season, which is simply incredible. 

 

The three leaders are really having to work hard for their break advantage. It's up to one minute now but the peloton aren't keen on letting this one go. 

 

Back to Strade Bianche and we've this huge tech gallery from Saturday's action. It covers both the men's and women's race. Here's the link

 

Bernal 'pure class' in Paris-Nice crosswinds, says Rowe Strong showing from Team Sky as Kwiatkowski grabs bonus se… https://t.co/QbWSE7U4Su

@Cyclingnewsfeed Mon, 11th Mar 2019 12:20:01

The three leaders are now on the first climb of the day, the third category Cote de Senlisse. De Marchi leads them onto the lower slopes in his bright orange kit, with Edet and Gaudin on his wheel. The gap has gone out to 1'10.

 

Alessandro De Marchi has been in breaks already this season and is clearly enjoying the amount of freedom CCC have provided him now that they lack a number of GC riders. That said, they'll expect the Italian, 32, to come up with the goods a lot more now. He's won in the Giro, Vuelta and Dauphine and will be looking to add to his tally here in Paris-Nice.

 

132km remaining from 163km

The wind picks up and once more it's caused the peloton to split. Just like yesterday. We have several groups all over the road but race leader Dylan Groenewegen has made the first group. This has come, partly due to the work from QuickStep. 132km to go.

 

The work from the lead group has been cut in half, with 18 riders including Dylan Groenewegen just 25 seconds down. There are several other groups all over the road though with the cross-winds again feature. KOM leader Gaudin leads the break but no confirmation yet as to whether he was first over the climb. 

 

Okay, Gaudin was indeed first to the top of the climb, and he's extended his lead in the KOM competition but the surge from the bunch has caught the break, and all the other groups have made contact once more. 36km raced and we're back together again. 

 

There are still a few riders dangling off the back of the peloton but the majority have made it back to the peloton. The bunch momentarily ease up with the break caught. As soon as the race in briefly changes direction we could see more echelons form.

 

There are still a few riders dangling off the back of the peloton but the majority have made it back to the peloton. The bunch momentarily ease up with the break caught. As soon as the race in briefly changes direction we could see more echelons form.

 

122km remaining from 163km

Just to recap: we saw a break of three go up the road at the start of the race. They included De Marchi, Gaudin and Edet. They only managed to gain a minute on the peloton but were brought back a few minutes ago as the peloton split in the cross winds. All together again now.

 

A reminder of the GC as we came into today's stage:

 

1 Dylan Groenewegen (Ned) Team Jumbo-Visma 3:17:25
2 Caleb Ewan (Aus) Lotto Soudal 0:00:04
3 Luis León Sanchez (Spa) Astana Pro Team 0:00:05
4 Michal Kwiatkowski (Pol) Team Sky
5 Fabio Jakobsen (Ned) Deceuninck-QuickStep 0:00:06
6 Egan Bernal (Col) Team Sky 0:00:09
7 Rudy Molard (Fra) Groupama-FDJ
8 Sam Bennett (Irl) Bora-Hansgrohe 0:00:10
9 John Degenkolb (Ger) Trek-Segafredo
10 Matteo Trentin (Ita) Mitchelton-Scott

 

We're still way off the next climb, the Côte des Granges-le-Roi, but if the bunch sits up no doubt we'll see Gaudin try his luck and go for more KOM points. 

 

Looking down the road there are further reports of cross-winds and the CN blimp right now is all over the place due to the conditions. We're in for more echelons at this rate.

 

At the moment it's a cross tailwind from the right, but that's going to change in a few kilometers. And as you'd expect a number of teams, QuickStep, Visma, Sky are all near the front and protecting their leaders. The tension is rising and we've still got over 100km to go.

 

110km remaining from 163km

110km to go and we're onto the second climb of the Cote des Granges-le-Roi.

 

The speed naturally drops but the intensity is still there. 

 

Over the top of the climb and here are the results. No points for Gaudin this time. I think that's the first climb he's not contested in the race:

 

Florian Senechal (Deceuninck-Quick Step) 4 points 2. Ivan Garcia (Bahrain-Merida) 2 points3. Michael Schwarzmann (Bora-Hansgrohe) 1 point.

 

As expected the wind has caused chaos once more. This time it's Trek and FDJ who split the field. A number or groups have formed, and we can see that Aru is one of the casualties. The race is in pieces yet again. 

 

And now there's a crash. Warren Barguil, Gorka Izagirre and Tao Geoghegan are among those who have fallen. While Cavendish has missed the split and is at the back of the peloton. 

 

100km remaining from 163km

Back together again, as Roberta Flack once sang. I think even Cavendish and Aru are back in the fold. 100km to go.

 

Again splits appear and the big news is that Yates and Jungels have both lost contact with the first group on the road. They're in the third group, which is 25 seconds down on the yellow jersey.

 

96km remaining from 163km

Race organisers ASO have come through with  a few names of the riders in the front group:

 

Dylan Groenewegen, Caleb Ewan, Nairo Quintana, Romain Bardet, Egan Bernal, Arnaud Demare and Matteo Trentin.

 

Bennett, Sanchez, Yates, they're all in that second group that's now 50 seconds down. Kelderman is also there. They're safety could come in the fact that the group is so large that they might be able to mount a chase. The gap is down to 26 seconds now.

 

89km remaining from 163km

So we have three groups. The first contains the yellow jersey, then Jackobsen and Sam Bennett are in a small chase group. The third, largest group, is at 25 seconds.

 

Van Avermaet: The strongest man won Strade Bianche 'I had a good day but not a top day' says Belgian after top 10… https://t.co/hYR9yAUEvW

@Cyclingnewsfeed Mon, 11th Mar 2019 13:30:12

84km remaining from 163km

84km to go and the Jungels/George Bennett group are 35 seconds down on the yellow jersey group. 

 

Jakobsen and Chaves make it back to the front, while Bernal wins an intermediate sprint and picks up three seconds. It's all going on in Paris-Nice.

 

The gap is coming down. It's now at 15 seconds. They should make contact in the next few kilometres. 

 

73km remaining from 163km

Race radio crackles through that Groenewegen has been dropped by the lead group. We're looking down the road for confirmation of that.  73km to go.

 

It looks as though Jungels has made it back and the yellow jersey has recovered. Simon Yates, is still out the back, however. 

 

There are still two distinct groups on the road, with the gap at a now stable 30 second as FDJ set the pace at the head of the race. 

 

Demare, Chaves, Ewan, the race leader, Sam Bennett, Bernal and Bardet are in the lead group of just under 20 riders. 

 

The front group splits once more and for the second time the leader of the race Dylan Groenewegen has lost contact. There are still 52km to go!

 

The race leader has regained contact but it's race over for Barguil. He crashed earlier and has now packed.

And now Gorka Izagirre, who made the podium 12 months ago, is also out. 

 

The Yates group has now drifted to almost but it looks like the race leader has made it back to the front. 

 

40km remaining from 163km

Just 40km to go as we see Quintana take a pull on the front of the yellow jersey group that contains Bardet, Bernal and several others. Why can't we have this regularly at the Tour de France?


Bad news for Kwiatowski. He has a mechanical and now he's out the lead group as Uran hits the deck. There are groups all over the road. 

 

And Ewan has lost contact with the lead group as well. He simply can't match the speed. This has been such a hectic stage, as Quintana once again moves to the front and sets the pace. 

 

Kittel is in the front group, so too is Greipel, Trentin, Rowe, Bernal, Bardet, Degenkolb, Groenewegen, Gilbert, Kelderman, Eisel... and Demare. 33 riders in total. 

 

Back down the road and Kwiatowski is in the second group with Sam Bennett, Ewan and several more. Today's cross tailwind has caused chaos.

 

Bardet has two riders with him, while we see Quintana drift back into the middle of the group after taking a number of big turns. 28km to go and the leaders have 42 seconds on the chase. 

 

26km remaining from 163km

The second group dont look altogether organised as we see Demare take a turn on the front of the yellow jersey echelon. Greipel, who did a lot of work yesterday, is just sitting at the back for now. He faded in the sprint yesterday so he'll be looking to measure his effort, as we see Ewan drop from the second group on the road. 26km to go.

 

Jungels, and then Trentin come through as the gap to the second group goes out to 46 seconds. 

 

Now the gap move out to a minute with 23km to go. The leaders will pass through the finish once in just a few minutes, before doing another loop. We see Rowe, who is looking after Bernal's interest as AG2R move to the front. They have four riders in the lead group, to Sky's two. 

 

Bonus seconds and Gallopin takes three seconds, Bardet 2 and Naesen 1. Nice little sprint from the AG2R train. You don't hear that too often. 22km to go. 

 

AG2R can't afford to mess around too much though because they'll want to put further time into the chase group that contains several GC favourites. And just like that the French team move up together and string out the lead group. Bernal just sits on Rowe's wheel. 

 

19km remaining from 163km

55 seconds with 19km to go. Degenkolb looks decent but Kittel is also in the mix, although both riders lack any teammates. Groenewegen and Demare are the sprinters with the most support. 

 

Kelderman takes a pull and then looks around. Matthews would have been a real contender for a finish like this before he crashed out yesterday but it's the Dutchman who flies the flag for Sunweb today. He is going a good job of keeping out of trouble. 

 

Bernal is right at the back with Rowe just ahead of him. Is the Colombian starting to struggle as AG2R continue to set the pace.

 

The French team are looking around for help and it's coming in the form of Trentin and Eisel, who do just enough to keep the break going but the gap is coming down. It says 43 seconds but looks a lot closer. 

 

Bora are leading the chase with 16km to go.

 

RT @FlannelBidon: @willfoth Arkea - Barguil ‘only’ concussion known so far, Greipel animating races. Vital Concept - Pierre Rolland hand fr…

@willfoth Mon, 11th Mar 2019 14:48:32

A full list of the riders in the front group:
 

Quintana (Movistar), Roelandts (Movistar), Trentin (Mitchelton-Scott), Maes (Lotto-Soudal), Garcia (Bahrain-Merida), Grossschartner (Bora-Hansgrohe), Bardet, Gallopin, Naesen, Vandenbergh (AG2R), Bernal, Rowe (Sky), Degenkolb (Trek-Segafredo), Demare, Molard (Groupama-FDJ), Gilbert, Jungels(Deceuninck-Quick Step), Kittel (Katusha), Greipel (Arkea), Groenewegen, Jansen, Wynants, Kelderman (Jumbo-Visma), Eisel (Dimension Data)

 

Jakobsen has cracked. He will not feature today in the finish as the second group continue to close down the leaders. It's less than 10 seconds.

 

11km remaining from 163km

Just over 10km to go as Gilbert takes a turn on the front of the lead group. Visma sat back earlier but are now working, just as the second group come back. They've waited too long but we're about to hit another section of cross-winds. That's why they're moving up.

 

Uran, Kwiatkowski, Sam Bennett and Simon Yates are back in the front group. 9km to go.

 

Luis Leon Sanchez, has also fought back and made the lead group as one of the Visma riders peels off, as we see Kittel has a teammate. No sign of Zakarin though. Ah there he is, I think.

 

As Visma and FDJ raise the pace once more with 7km to go. They're going to try and split the remnants of the bunch once more. Whatever happens, whoever wins this stage will really deserve it. It's been such a hard race.

 

Cross winds in 5,4,3,2,1...

 

And it's Rowe who hits the front, Bernal in fourth wheel as the group lines out.

 

5km remaining from 163km

Once more the race splits. 5km to go.

 

Around 15 riders left after that turn from Rowe. Sky have the front three positions. 

 

Kittel has been dropped. Quintana too. Bardet has made. Just.

 

Dylan Groenewegen is there, and Sanchez as we see Kittel sprint to try and make it back.

 

No Bardet has lost contact... it's all gone wrong for AG2R. And the lead group is down to less than 10. Greipel is there. Three riders from Sky, Trentin, Gilbert...

 

2km remaining from 163km

Just over 2km to go and even Jungels has been dropped. 

 

Dylan Groenewegen, three from Sky, Sanchez, Gilbert, Trentin, and one rider from Bahrain. That's all we have left with 2km to go. AG2R lead a frantic chase with FDJ but the gap is 13 seconds.

 

Rowe has blown. 1km to go. Gilbert just sits at the back. It's Garcia from Bahrain. Sky have two riders so they need to work on the front. Dylan Groenewegen just waits...

 

And it's Bernal who leads with 1km to go. 

 

The Colombian rises from the saddle. 400m to go.

 

Trentin leads out...

 

But here comes Groenewegen...

 

Dylan Groenewegen wins the stage. He had too much for Gilbert, Garcia and Trentin in the end and wins his second stage in the row. The record books will suggest this was a typical sprint finish but this was anything but that. 

 

Groenewegen came from the back of the group, waited for Trentin to open up and then took the opposite side of the road. Garcia came back towards the end and I think took second but that was an impressive win for Groenewegen. Garcia Contina second, and Gilbert third. 

 

There was a gap to the chase group at the finish but it was just a few seconds. It will be interesting to see the time difference awarded. In terms of the GC, Team Sky look to have come out on top. 

Brief results:
 

1 Dylan Groenewegen (Ned) Team Jumbo-Visma
2 Ivan Garcia (Spa) Bahrain-Merida
3 Philippe Gilbert (Bel) Deceuninck-QuickStep

General classification after stage 2
1 Dylan Groenewegen (Ned) Team Jumbo-Visma 6:31:19
2 Michal Kwiatkowski (Pol) Team Sky 0:00:12
3 Luis León Sanchez (Spa) Astana Pro Team 0:00:13

 

Groenewegen: It was very hard. There were eight riders I think and when i saw the line I was waiting and waiting. Trentin was going and I was going on the right side and it was enough. It was a very hard stage.

 

Sometimes I was in the second group. Sometimes I was in the first group but in the end I was in the first group. My team put me in a good position and that's two in a row, so I'm very happy. We'll celebrate today but tomorrow is another day. 

 

Stage 2 results:

1 Dylan Groenewegen (Ned) Team Jumbo-Visma 3:14:04
2 Ivan Garcia (Spa) Bahrain-Merida
3 Philippe Gilbert (Bel) Deceuninck-QuickStep
4 Matteo Trentin (Ita) Mitchelton-Scott
5 Michal Kwiatkowski (Pol) Team Sky
6 Luis León Sanchez (Spa) Astana Pro Team
7 Egan Bernal (Col) Team Sky
8 Arnaud Demare (Fra) Groupama-FDJ 0:00:05
9 André Greipel (Ger) Arkéa Samsic
10 Mike Teunissen (Ned) Team Jumbo-Visma


General classification after stage 2


1 Dylan Groenewegen (Ned) Team Jumbo-Visma 6:31:19
2 Michal Kwiatkowski (Pol) Team Sky 0:00:12
3 Luis León Sanchez (Spa) Astana Pro Team 0:00:13
4 Philippe Gilbert (Bel) Deceuninck-QuickStep 0:00:16
5 Egan Bernal (Col) Team Sky 0:00:19
6 Matteo Trentin (Ita) Mitchelton-Scott 0:00:20
7 Tony Gallopin (Fra) AG2R La Mondiale 0:00:22
8 Rudy Molard (Fra) Groupama-FDJ 0:00:23
9 Romain Bardet (Fra) AG2R La Mondiale 0:00:23
10 Oliver Naesen (Bel) AG2R La Mondiale 0:00:24

 

So five seconds back to the second group on the road. Bardet will have mixed feelings about today. He took three seconds at an intermediate but then his team were missing in the final split and that's cost the Frenchman. Team Sky have two riders in the top five now but they'll be wary of Luis Leon Sanchez, who clawed his way back into contention after missing the first set of splits in the stage.

 

#ParisNice A tough day out for @SimonYatess, he’s lost time today on some GC contenders who made it into the front… https://t.co/n8HDIoFQfY

@MitcheltonSCOTT Mon, 11th Mar 2019 15:18:48

You can find our brief report, results, and photos, right here.

 

Breaking news. Here are a list of riders out of the race after today's action:
 

24 IZAGUIRRE INSAUSTI GORKA ASTANA PRO TEAM WITHDRAWAL
131 BARGUIL WARREN TEAM ARKEA - SAMSIC WITHDRAWAL
132 BOUET MAXIME TEAM ARKEA - SAMSIC WITHDRAWAL
151 URAN RIGOBERTO EF EDUCATION FIRST WITHDRAWAL
181 CAVENDISH MARK TEAM DIMENSION DATA WITHDRAWAL
186 MEINTJES LOUIS TEAM DIMENSION DATA WITHDRAWAL

 

Strade Bianche highlights: Alaphilippe continues Deceuninck dominance - Video Frenchman beats Fuglsang to take one… https://t.co/7p86hlr4v1

@Cyclingnewsfeed Mon, 11th Mar 2019 15:35:02

That's about all we've got time for today. You can find our complete race report, photos and results right here.

Thanks for joining us. We'll be back tomorrow with complete coverage from stage 3.

 

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