A late race crash split the bunch on the opening stage of Paris-Nice. Jens Keukeleire, Mat Hayman, Michael Albasini and Simon Yates made the 100 rider front group. Matt Goss, Michael Matthews, Mitch Docker and Simon Gerrans were caught behind the crash, missed out on the move and crossed the finish line 1’09 behind the main field.
Giant-Shimano was pushing the pace when the mid-pack crash blocked the road. The chaos that followed would prove decisive. Several overall contenders were amongst those in the second group that lost time on stage one.
Gianni Meersman (Omega Pharma – Quick-Step) was the first to open his sprint. He was forced to settle for third when both Nacer Bouhanni (FDJ.fr) and John Degenkolb (Giant-Shimano) came around him in their bid for the line. Bouhanni took the stage win to pull on the first leader’s jersey. Mat Hayman was the best-placed rider for ORICA-GreenEDGE in 11th place.
“There was a lot of stress in the bunch during the last circuit lap. All our guys were riding in the middle of the peloton when there was a crash. Five of our guys missed out – Gerro, Bling, Gossy, Docker and Simon Yates. Somehow Simon was able to work his way back to the front, so we had four ahead and four behind. The plan today was to work for Gossy in the sprint. We committed all the guys to him. It was unfortunate to lose an opportunity, but we were lucky to get away without any major injuries. There were a lot of crashes today.” - Sport Director Dave McPartland
|1||Nacer Bouhanni (Fra) - FDJ.fr||3:53:11|
|2||John Degenkolb (Ger) - Team Giant-Shimano||ST|
|3||Gianni Meersman (Bel) - Omega Pharma - Quick-Step Cycling Team||ST|
|4||Jose Joaquin Rojas Gil (Spa) - Movistar Team||ST|
|5||Tyler Farrar (USA) - Garmin Sharp||ST|
|6||Bryan Coquard (Fra) - Team Europcar||ST|
|7||Luca Wackermann (Ita) - Lampre-Merida||ST|
|8||Fabio Felline (Ita) - Trek Factory Racing||ST|
|9||Fabio Sabatini (Ita) - Cannondale||ST|
|10||Francesco Gavazzi (Ita) - Astana Pro Team||ST|
|11||Mathew Hayman (Aus) - ORICA-GreenEDGE||ST|
|25||Jens Keukeleire (Bel) - ORICA-GreenEDGE||ST|
|71||Simon Yates (GBr) - ORICA-GreenEDGE||ST|
|112||Matthew Harley Goss (Aus) - ORICA-GreenEDGE||0:01:09|
|131||Simon Gerrans (Aus) - ORICA-GreenEDGE||ST|
|144||Mitchell Docker (Aus) - ORICA-GreenEDGE|
|150||Michael Matthews (Aus) - ORICA-GreenEDGE||ST|
|162||Michael Albasini (Swi) - ORICA-GreenEDGE||0:02:12|