Trentin fights to fourth, Yates loses time as the wind plays havoc on the second day Paris-NiceMon 11 Mar 2019
European champion Matteo Trentin survived the wind and echelons once again today on another chaotic stage of Paris-Nice to sprint to fourth place in Bellegarde.
It wasn’t the same story for Vuelta a España champion Simon Yates, who unfortunately found himself caught out early on, with the wind not on his side, eventually finishing the stage in the third group, losing valuable time to his general classification contenders despite a hard chase.
Dylan Groenewegen (Team Jumbo-Visma) was the rider to come out on top, taking consecutive stage honours head of another flat and potential sprint stage tomorrow.
A short breakaway and more wind
In the opening kilometres, just like in yesterday’s stage a group of three riders jumped away from the bunch. The trio opened up a lead of over one-minute but it wasn’t for long as strong winds picked up causing echelons and splits in the bunch.
The peloton shattered into three group and the leaders were caught after around 40kilometres, but eventually the groups slowly came back together but the tension remained within a very anxious peloton.
More wind, more splits
The peloton continued to barrel along at a rapid pace, averaging 50.5kph for the first two hours. After around 60km Yates found himself caught out in the crosswinds and needing a bike change at a crucial moment, which ultimately ended his chances of getting back to the front of the race.
Ahead, the front two groups continued to yo-yo with small groups of riders coming together again only to split another time. Various combinations led the race with Trentin fighting tirelessly to stay at the front and out of trouble.
The front of the race splits again
Almost the same 20riders remained at the front of all the splits throughout the day but with the brutal wind, many of the dropped riders never saw the front of the race again.
The splits continued right until the end of the race and as the peloton passed the finish line with 21km to go, two large groups merged, putting some sprinters back into race contention, until another gap opened up inside five kilometres to go.
Seven-riders including Trentin headed off the front of the bunch, fanned out over the road all the way until the finish line, where Trentin gave all he could in the furious dash to the line, taking fourth place.
Jack Haig managed to make it back into the main front group just in time for the finish, to conclude the stage in 19th place, just five seconds down, to keep Mitchelton-SCOTT in with a chance for the overall classification.
“If you aren’t sitting in the front row with the wind in your face then you always have the possibility to get dropped. If you analyse the whole race it was always the same 20 guys sitting in the front group.
“I was less stressed than yesterday because it split straight away. When you make the split, you are at the front, then you know how to ride and it is more like stress for yourself to be in the group but it was not as much stress as yesterday to keep the position.
“We had Jack Haig up there and he did good to come back, of course it is a pity for the general classification for Simon but it can be like that with the wind. We still have Jack in contention so it is not completely over for the GC.
“There’s still some sprint days arriving, Groenewegen looks like he is in super form but I am watch more stages with little more climbs where I can maybe be a little better in the finish than them.”
Paris-Nice - Stage 2 Results:
1. Dylan Groenewegen (Team Jumbo-Visma) 3:14:04
2. Ivan Garcia Cortina (Bahrain-Merida) ST
3. Philippe Gilbert (Deceuninck-Quickstep) ST
4. Matteo Trentin (Mitchelton-SCOTT) ST
Paris-Nice - General Classification after Stage 2:
1. Dylan Groenewegen (Team Jumbo-Visma) 6:31:19
2. Michal Kwiatkowski (Team Sky) +0:12
3. Luis Leon Sanchez (Astana Pro Team) +0:13
6. Matteo Trentin (Mitchelton-SCOTT) +0:20
Photos courtesy of Getty Images