Welcome to live coverage of Paris-Tour
Fancy seeing you all here. Il Lombardia was for the climbers yesterday, today we have the sprinters' Classic lined up for you.
Last year's champion Fernando Gaviria is back to defend his title, along with a whole load more top-class sprinters. You can peruse the start list at your pleasure, here.
The racing got underway about 40 minutes ago and there was a flurry of action right from the off. It took a little while before the move finally settled, but eventually a five-man group did eventually get away. The riders in the move are Romain Combaud (Delko Marseille Provence KTM), Michael Goolaerts (Verandas Willems Crelan), Oliver Naesen (AG2R La Mondiale), Stephan Poulhies (Armee de Terre) and Brian van Goethem (Roompot - Nederlanse Loterij).
The five riders currently have a 4:20 gap on the peloton.
Fernando Gaviria is obviously Quick-Step's main man for today but, as they always do, have an exceptional team for this one-day Classic. Matteo Trentin is a very strong second option and riders like Stybar, Terpstra, Lampaert and Keisse have proven records with winning from a breakaway. In theory, they should be able to react well to any situation.
1 Fernando Gaviria (Col)
2 Matteo Trentin (Ita)
3 Remi Cavagna (Fra)
4 Iljo Keisse (Bel)
5 Yves Lampaert (Bel)
6 Maximiliano Ariel Richeze (Arg)
7 Zdenek Stybar (Cze)
8 Niki Terpstra (Ned)
193km remaining from 234km
The leaders continue to expand their advantage and now have 5:40 on the bunch behind. Still a long way to go so no panic just yet.
The autumn Classics may not have finished quite yet but yesterday was the last monument of the season with Il Lombardia. Vincenzo Nibali won his second in three years with another solo ride. You can read a full recap of the day's action with photos, results and a short highlights package, right here.
@sebpiquet Sun, 8th Oct 2017 10:35:40
Pretty much all the riders in today's break are the type of rider you would expect to go in an early move. Riders from lower-ranked squads looking for a bit of publicity. Naesen is an interesting one, because he is a rider that you can believe might stay away. Normally, the team would be working for sprinter Samuel Dumoulin, but the Frenchman has been out with injury since the Tour de l'Ain in August. They've got Paris-Bourges winner Barbier, but he will have a harder time against some of the riders in today's peloton.
51 Oliver Naesen (Bel)
52 Rudy Barbier (Fra)
53 Julien Duval (Fra)
55 Nans Peters (Fra)
56 Stijn Vandenbergh (Bel)
57 Benoit Cosnefroy (Fra)
58 Gediminas Bagdonas (Ltu)
It has been a long, tough season and there are a number of teams operating without a full starting line-up today. As well as AG2R La Mondiale, who only has 7 out of 8 today, Dimension Data has just 6, Katusha has 7, Aqua Blue has 7 and HP BTP–Auber93 has 7.
Dimension Data might be two riders short but they do have Mark Cavendish among their six. It will be interesting to see how he goes today because it has been a challenging year for the Manxman. He battled Epstein Barr at the start of the year and then broke his shoulder at the Tour de France. Despite his credentials, Paris-Tour is a race that Cavendish is yet to win.
21 Mark Cavendish (GBr)
23 Nicholas Dougall (RSA)
25 Bernhard Eisel (Aut)
26 Jay Robert Thomson (RSA)
27 Johann Van Zyl (RSA)
28 Amanuel Ghebreigzabhier Werkilu (Eri)
As well as the action on the road, one of the major events in the race was the accidents that occurred on the descent of the Sormano. Laurens De Plus was the first to go down and escaped relatively unscathed. Jan Bakelants was not so fortunate. The Belgian broke seven ribs and suffered two vertebrae fractures. Simone Petilli also came out with some big injuries too. You can ready the full story here.
@Cyclingnewsfeed Sun, 8th Oct 2017 11:00:03
The peloton has decided that the break has had enough room to work with and brings them to heel. The gap has reduced a tad to 3:40.
Nacer Bouhanni will be hoping to keep his cool today and pull out a win. Bouhanni has been a controversial character in cycling, but this year has seen several moments to forget. He got into a shouting match with Rudy Barbier after he deemed the AG2R rider to have made a dangerous move. If Bouhanni implodes today, the team will likely have to pin their hopes on Christophe Laporte. Let us see what happens.
11 Nacer Bouhanni (Fra)
12 Dimitri Claeys (Bel)
13 Dorian Godon (Fra)
14 Christophe Laporte (Fra)
15 Cyril Lemoine (Fra)
16 Geoffrey Soupe (Fra)
17 Anthony Turgis (Fra)
18 Jimmy Turgis (Fra)
A slight digression, but who doesn't love a good bit of bike porn? Eurobike was a little while back, but our good friends at Bike Radar have put together a video of some of the best and weirdest bikes they saw out in Germany. Take a look at it here.
Iljo Keisse is setting the pace in the bunch at the moment. Lotto Soudal, Roompot and Team Sunweb are all keeping a watchful eye on the head of the peloton.
That is the tall figure of Lars Bak sitting on the tail of Iljo Keisse. He is working for his team leader Andre Greipel. The German has suffered from confidence issues this season, particularly after he failed to score a stage win at the Tour de France. He finally got back to winning ways at the Omloop Eurometropool last Saturday. Lotto-Soudal also has Moreno Hofland as a good lead-out rider and a fall-back option.
41 Andre Greipel (Ger)
42 Moreno Hofland (Ned)
43 Lars Ytting Bak (Den)
44 Jasper De Buyst (Bel)
45 Jens Debusschere (Bel)
46 Nikolas Maes (Bel)
47 Tosh Van der Sande (Bel)
48 Enzo Wouters (Bel)
Through one reason or another, there are only two former winners of Paris-Tours in today's peloton and Quick-Step Floors has them both. As well as Gaviria, Matteo Trentin won the race two years ago. In fact, Trentin earned himself the ruban jaune with his win. The ruban jaune is awarded to the winner of the race with the fastest average speed. Trentin's finishing average was a zippy 49.641km/h.
Paris-Tours is traditionally a fast race, helped largely because of the parcours and the tailwind that is often there to assist the riders. The ruban jaune was first awarded to Gustave Danneels after he won the 1936 version of Paris-Tours with an average speed of 41.455kph. It has been awarded 11 more times since then and 8 have those have been at Paris-Tours.
There is not as much wind around today, so it's unlikely that this year's edition will beat Trentin's record but you never know.
Yesterday's racing at Il Lombardia was one of the last WorldTour events of the season. Vincenzo Nibali's win was enough to put him into the top 5 with two more events to come. Julian Alaphilippe was another serious gainer in the rankings. To see the updated individual and team rankings after Il Lombardia, click here.
The advantage of the escapees has been holding firm for quite some time now as the riders pass the halfway point of the race. Still a touch over 100km of racing remaining.
The peloton is looking pretty relaxed at the moment and the riders are happy to chat in the bunch. For a lot of the riders, this is the final race of the season. One last push and they can finally have a bit of a break.
One rider that I haven't yet mentioned today, but who is certainly a contender for victory today is Dylan Groenewegen. The Dutchman enjoyed the biggest victory of his career earlier this season with a win on the Champs Elysees. He finished fifth in the recent Munsterland Giro, just behind the four-rider photo finish.
61 Dylan Groenewegen (Ned)
62 Amund Grondahl Jansen (Nor)
63 Timo Roosen (Ned)
64 Jos van Emden (Ned)
65 Gijs Van Hoecke (Bel)
66 Robert Wagner (Ger)
67 Maarten Wynants (Bel)
68 Juan José Lobato (Spa)
We don't have the Munsterland Giro, Sam Bennett, here today. He's one of the few WorldTour riders racing at the Tour of Turkey next week.
Quick-Step is slowly cranking up the pace and bringing in the leaders bit by bit. They do not want to catch them too quickly or they will have to burn a lot of energy chasing down attacks.
@sebpiquet Sun, 8th Oct 2017 12:23:55
The Aqua Blue team has had a dream first season in the peloton, particularly with their stage win at the Vuelta a Espana last month. They'll be hoping to go out with a bang and they're looking to Adam Blythe to deliver them something to smile about today. Blythe has had a few close calls this season, but hasn't quite managed the victory. Andy Fenn is another option for the Irish squad today.
141 Adam Blythe (GBr)
143 Matthew Brammeier (Irl)
144 Andrew Fenn (GBr)
145 Lasse Norman Hansen (Den)
146 Lars Petter Nordhaug (Nor)
147 Daniel Pearson (GBr)
148 Calvin Watson (Aus)
Ding, ding, ding! This is your 100km warning. 100km remaining.
Away from today's race, there were rumours that Il Lombardia could be moved from October to the spring. Cyclingnews spoke to Mauro Vegni, who categorically denied the rumours, saying that the race was moving nowhere. Read the full story here.
Quick-Step Floors continues to work the front of the peloton. They are the overwhelming favourites today and nobody wants to make it easier for the Belgian squad.
The work that Quick-Step is doing is paying dividends though. They've got the five escapees at 2:15 now with 80 kilometres remaining.
The young riders are also racing today in Paris-Tours Espoirs. They've got just 30km to go and there is plenty of action in the bunch.
@segracing Sun, 8th Oct 2017 13:02:35
This was the breakaway a little earlier. Their days are numbered in this move as the peloton continues to close in on them.
One more potential contender that I am yet to mention today is BMC Racing's Jempy Drucker. The Luxembourg rider has had a lean second part to the season, but has notched up a few wins this season and was an important player in the Classics over the spring.
71 Silvan Dillier (Swi)
72 Jean-Pierre Drucker (Lux)
73 Floris Gerts (Ned)
74 Stefan Kung (Swi)
75 Daniel Oss (Ita)
76 Nathan Van Hooydonck (Bel)
77 Bram Welten (Ned)
78 Joey Rosskopf (USA)
The peloton has backed off a little after closing the break down to almost two minutes. They've let it expand out to 2:40 with less than 70km remaining.
@Cyclingnewsfeed Sun, 8th Oct 2017 13:30:57
Several different teams sharing the work now with just over 60km remaining. We're getting to the pointy end of proceedings today.
56km remaining from 234km
Iljo Keisse is still doing a large amount of work on the front and he is burning a few riders out of the back of the bunch. The gap to the escapees remains at 2:30 for now.
The average speed of today's racing has been 42.5kph. It will speed up in the latter part of the day but it is a long way off that fastest average that Trentin set two years ago.
I would like to make an apology, it appears that it is Lawrence Naesen in the break rather than Oliver. The latter is sitting comfortably in the peloton.
50km remaining from 234km
The gap is coming down very quickly right now. In very short order, it has dropped to 1:37 as Lotto-Soudal, Katusha and LottoNL-Jumbo work with Quick-Step Floors on the front.
Lars Bak putting in a turn on the front. At 6'3", he's a good rider to get a draft behind.
BMC Development rider Jasper Philipsen has won the Paris-Tours Espoirs.
Rain has begun to fall out on course and this could make things a little tricky. We hope that everyone can stay upright, but lots of teams now bring their leaders forward to avoid any crashes if they do happen.
41km remaining from 234km
Keisse had a short break from pacing dutires but he's back and he's turning up the pace again. This gap is coming down very quickly. Just 1:14 remaining for the five out front.
Standing out in the greying weather is the pink handlebars and socks of the Aqua Blue team. They are riding with the pink additions for breast cancer awareness.
Less than a minute now for the escapees as the roads become quite slick. A bit of a problem for one of the riders as he overcooks it and has to take a very wide turn to avoid slipping out.
It was Poulhies that went a bit too deep into that corner and he's now in no man's land.
33km remaining from 234km
Meanwhile, Team Sunweb has gone on the attack.
The breakaway is shedding riders and they've got just three left now. Teunissen behind is mopping up those that were dropped. He's with Goolaerts but they don't have much of a gap on the peloton.
@Cyclingnewsfeed Sun, 8th Oct 2017 14:16:55
The escapees are really trying to up the pace and they've got rid of Combaud now. Just Naesen and Goethem remaining out there. Meanwhile, Teunissen and Goolaerts have been caught by the peloton.
Getting rid of some of the weaker members of the break has allowed them to hold off the peloton for just a little bit longer. It's still a slim advantage. Just 35 seconds for the two with 24 kilometres to go.
@quickstepteam Sun, 8th Oct 2017 14:24:25
19km remaining from 234km
A hairy moment for the AG2R La Mondiale team as a corner nearly goes wrong. They have to take to the central reservation to avoid going down. All through ok, thankfully.
A crash for Gaviria going around a corner. He was on the outside of the bunch and slipped out on the slick tarmac. He's back on his bike but his bike has some issues and he's picking out grit from the palm of his hand. He's still got time to get back into the bunch.
Gaviria is utilising the slipstream of his team car to get back. There doesn't seem to be any commissaires to tell them to move the car over.
Gaviria has made contact with the back of the bunch, but there are splits happening. None of his teammates is dropping back yet to help him.
14km remaining from 234km
We're approaching the two final little climbs of the day where riders could launch a serious attack. Gaviria will want to be near the front by the time they reach that point in just a couple of kilometres.
Quick-Step Floors is sitting as the second team in the bunch. Meanwhile, AG2R La Mondiale is not making this easy for Gaviria to make his way up to the front of the peloton. They're really putting the hammer down and there are more teams coming up to help. They sense an opportunity here.
This is not easy for Gaviria and even if he does get to the front he will have burned quite a bit of energy in doing so. The efforts of AG2R is bringing back the two leaders also, with just nine seconds separating the two groups.
10km remaining from 234km
There are a couple of Quick-Step riders visible near the back of the bunch to help Gaviria, who has been struggling. They were reluctant to send people back with Trentin still in the mix.
The breakaway has been brought back and Trentin goes on the attack.
Quick-Step have obviously changed the plan. Trentin's dig has distanced Gaviria and it looks like the Colombian's day is done, even with the help of Zdenek Stybar.
8km remaining from 234km
Five riders with Trentin, including one of his teammates. There is another Quick-Step Floors rider trying to jump the gap.
Quick-Step has numbers in that small move, but, unfortunately for Trentin, they brought Drucker with them.
Trentin digs again and only Andersen riders can go with him. There is chaos behind as other riders scramble to bridge the gap. Oliver Naesen is one of them and Greipel is also there.
Terpstra has managed to get over to Trentin and Andersen while the chasers have been caught by the peloton. Lots of looking at each other at the moment.
Terpstra moves to the front of this leading group and applies the power. Andersen has to work hard to get back into his wheel. Quick-Step Floors has the numbers but Andersen is still doing a bit of work.
3km remaining from 234km
The peloton behind has blown apart as a chase group of about 20 riders tries to track them down. Quick-Step as a rider behind, but they are being given a free ride. It's Lotto-Soudal and FDJ doing the bulk of the work. 13 seconds is the gap right now.
1km remaining from 234km
Trentin and Terpstra share a quick word, perhaps discussing tactics. From this group, Trentin should be a shoe-in for victory but Ian Stannard has shown that you can get one over on Quick-Step Floors if you think smart.
Just 10 seconds for this trio as they go under the flamme rouge. This is going to be close
Quick-Step should really put Terpstra on the front rather than these constant discussions.
The chase is on behind, but it might just be too late.
Greipel takes the sprint from the chase group but that is only fourth place and he looks annoyed.
Kragh Andersen tried very hard to come past Trentin, but he just didn't quite have the legs. Trentin has been in such good form in the latter part of the year.
This is how the top 10 looks at the end of today
1 Matteo Trentin (Ita) Quick-Step Floors 5:22:51
2 Søren Kragh Andersen (Den) Team Sunweb
3 Niki Terpstra (Ned) Quick-Step Floors 0:00:01
4 André Greipel (Ger) Lotto Soudal 0:00:07
5 Maximiliano Richeze (Arg) Quick-Step Floors
6 Oliver Naesen (Bel) AG2R La Mondiale
7 Yves Lampaert (Bel) Quick-Step Floors
8 Andrea Pasqualon (Ita) Wanty - Groupe Gobert
9 Mike Teunissen (Ned) Team Sunweb
10 Jean-Pierre Drucker (Lux) BMC Racing Team
It must be said that it is the last race for Trentin with the Quick-Step team. He's heading to Orica-Scott next season after seven years with the Belgian squad.
Trentin was a happy boy after he crossed the line and he had a lot to say about his win.
“I did what I did two years ago when I won. Of course, it was a bit different. We were in a big bunch and there weren’t echelons here today. You know, with the light rain, the wet, and the course that was designed a bit different, it was a bit more technical in the approach to the climb,” said Trentin. “I saw that the bunch was straight and people were making big efforts to stay in the front so I decided to give it a go.
“The first group formed and then with the second one I saw we were two and then I saw Niki so I decided to wait and then we worked perfectly together. He really made a perfect lead-out together. That’s my way to finish the season and to thanks the team for these last seven year. I said it this morning in Instagram that the best way to end this chapter was winning and I did it and it’s a nice feeling.
"It looks like it’s our race. Next year I won’t be in Quick-Step so I hope that it can be my race."
That is it from our live coverage of Paris-Tours today. You can read our report and get full results and photos from today's race, here.
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