On the gun, Romain Sicard (EUS), Bertjan Lindeman (VCD) and Yannick Talabardon (SOJ) broke clear on today’s 195 kilometer long first stage of Paris-Nice from Saint-Germain-en-Laye to Nemours where a bunch sprint was expected.
The trio managed to work up a lead of 7.20 minutes before the peloton started dragging them in. Even though Bertjan Lindeman (VCD) and Yannick Talabardon (SOJ prolonged the break a bit by leaping away from their follower after the final bonus sprint, they were eventually reeled in.
With 20 kilometers to go, a sudden change of direction created havoc in the field exploding in the cross wind with prominent riders such as Marcel Kittel and Tom Boonen caught behind. The pace was picked up to an even higher level and on the finish line, the French national champion, Nacer Bouhanni (FDJ) took the stage win in the hectic sprint.
Team Saxo-Tinkoff DS, Dan Frost says:
”We had been on our toes throughout the stage as we knew the cross wind would be a factor in the finale so we made sure that Nico (Roche) was up there in the front. Unfortunately, Michael (Mørkøv) had a flat tire just as we entered the cross wind section and he had to wait for the second group to pass before he could get a new wheel while Anders (Lund) was caught up behind a crash. Tomorow, there’s another very similar stage waiting for us and we’ll try to stay in the front of the pack just like everybody else. But especially Nico and Nicki (Sørensen) are our top priorities tomorrow,” said the Danish sports director.
Nacer Bouhanni (FDJ) now leads overall.