Arnaud Demare wins opening stage in Paris-Nice
Mar 05 2017 11:56 pm CET

Arnaud Demare wins opening stage in Paris-Nice
Arnaud Demare wins opening stage in Paris-Nice
SUBSCRIBE TO RSS FEEDS

ARNAUD DEMARE
FDJ
PARIS-NICE

Arnaud Demare of FDJ is the first leader of Paris-Nice after beating Julian Alaphilippe in a sprint of two at the end of a hectic opening stage.

Four riders chose the opening stage of the French race for an adventure and formed a breakaway early on. Kristijan Koren (Cannondale), Sylain Chavanel (Direct Energie), Romain Hardy (Fortuneo) and Gatis Smukulis (Delko-Marseille) built a gap of over six minutes.

The wind on the course resulted in echelons and eventually splits in the peloton, leaving riders like Alaphilippe, Dan Martin, Sergio Henao and most of the top sprinters in the front group while many of the general classification contenders found themselves at the wrong side of the split.

The first chase group went on to catch the four original leaders to form a new strong lead group with teams like Quick-Step doing most of the work for both Martin and sprinter Marcel Kittel. At 50 kilometers from the finish, the gap with the second group had passed the one-minute mark.

The advantage of the front group continued to grow, and even more so when new echelons caused further difficulties to those behind. AG2R La Mondiale leader Romain Bardet was even involved in a crash at about 25 kilometers from the finish and needed a new bike as he attempted to rejoin the group.

The Frenchman and the others involved in the crash found their way back into the group, which in turn had begun to close in on those in front. With 15 kilometers to go, the gap had gone down from 1'25" to just over a minute.

The lead group recovered the right pace however and kept the chasers at a comfortable distance. The efforts made in the front group proved to be too much for several, including Bryan Coquard, Sylvain Chavanel, Marcel Kittel and Andre Greipel.

The final attack came from Julian Alaphilippe with less than three kilomters to go. The Quick-Step rider was only followed by Arnaud Demare, and it was the FDJ man to beat his compatriot for the stage victory in a sprint of two.

Alexander Kristoff won the sprint for third place ahead of Philippe Gilbert and Tony Gallopin.

Despite his crash, Bardet limited the damage and finished along with Richie Porte at 46 seconds from the winner. Alberto Contador crossed the line at 1'04".



Photo of Arnaud Demare (cropped) by Equipe Cycliste FDJ





COMMENTS



MOST READ


JOIN OUR TEAM!


Have you always wanted to write about cycling? Click HERE to contact us!
THE LATEST CYCLING NEWS IN YOUR MAILBOX


Enter your email address:

CURRENT KEY RACES (05 DECEMBER)



UPCOMING RACES


RECENT RACES