More wind and rain on stage two Paris-Nice as Yates maintains his position overall

Mon 6 Mar 2017

Stage two of Paris-Nice was another tough wet and windy day with the race fragmenting into various groups, eventually concluding with a bunch sprint where Jens Keuekeleire finished in 27th, the highest placer for ORICA-SCOTT.

Mitch Docker had a strong ride to feature in the main real split of the day with 21riders, whilst the rest of the ORICA-SCOTT team worked well to keep general classification hopeful Simon Yates out of trouble.

The chaotic, cold and dismal conditions meant a lot of tired legs contesting the final sprint and despite the minor stage placing, sport director Laurenzo Lapage praised the team’s performance.

“All the boys did a great job, it was really cold today but everybody did their job well and in the end we kept Simon up there in the main group,” explained Lapage. 

“All day the guys were fighting, fighting, fighting with the wind and on a day like today it’s the guys who can deal with the cold the best, they’re the ones who can sprint in the end.

“It wasn’t the best course for Simon or the other classification guys and in these weather conditions but we did what we could, we showed good team work and we can be proud of this.”

How it happened:

Similarly to yesterday’s epic wet and windy stage, stage two gave the riders no better weather with the strong winds and rain once again animating proceedings.

Huge splits began to occur early into the stage as the peloton faced brutal cross-winds which created echelons and various groups all over the roads.

The situation at the head of the race continued to change rapidly with groups forming then rejoining, riders getting dropped and changes in wind direction. 

At 100kilometres to go a significant split saw a group of 22riders break away including Docker for ORICA-SCOTT. Yates remained in the next chase group along with the other main overall general classification contenders and his teammates, the group eventually regained contact with the leading 22riders with 57kilometres remaining.

All together in the regrouped main peloton, ORICA-SCOTT surrounded Yates keeping him out of trouble as the action continued with a small group of five-riders jumping ahead to a maximum advantage of one-minute twenty seconds.

Philppe Gilbert (Quick-Step Floors) then launched a solo attack but was caught with seven kilometres to go ahead of the final bunch sprint to conclude another brutal stage.

Paris-Nice stage two results:

1. Sonny Cobrelli (Bahrain Merida) 4:20:59
2. John Degenkolb (Trek-Segafredo) St
3. Arnaud Demare (FDJ) St
24. Jens Keuekeleire (ORICA-SCOTT) St

General classification after stage two:

1. Arnaud Demare (FDJ) 7:34:28
2. Julian Alaphilippe (Quick-Step Floors) +0:06
3. Philippe Gilbert (Quick-Step Floors) +0:17
23. Simon Yates (ORICA-SCOTT) +1:18

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