The opening day of racing at Paris-Nice saw the peloton start and finish in the town of Plaisir. A rolling parcours combined with strong winds forecasted and exposed sections, led to a nervous bunch as they rolled out of the neutral zone.
A breakaway duo were able to establish themselves at the head of the race early into the stage, quickly building up an advantage of over five minutes. It appeared as if the bunch had settled into a rhythm but after 40 kilometres of racing, the route changed direction and echelons were formed. This saw the gap to the breakaway duo tumble as the peloton split, with the team riding strongly to help to force the pace and be in the front group.
After a frantic 20 kilometres of action, the race was all back together, before the original breakaway forged on at the head of the race again. Yet, another increase in pace saw everything regroup with 75 kilometres to go.
The team came to the fore and after another change in direction, the race completely split in the crosswinds. Søren Kragh Andersen, Nikias Arndt, Tiesj Benoot and Cees Bol made the front group of 16, with Michael Matthews doing a good job to disrupt the chase in what was left of the peloton behind. The gap hovered between 15 and 25 seconds for the following 30 kilometres, but things regrouped on the climb to the intermediate sprint point.
Benoot and Alaphilippe attacked out of the front group to pick up some bonuses, with Benoot gaining two seconds, before the duo pushed on over the top of the hill, building a lead of 30 seconds with 25 kilometres to go. They worked well together and made it through the second intermediate sprint, where Benoot took another two bonus seconds, holding onto the same gap with just 15 kilometres to go.
It all came down to the cobbled climb in the finale and with the gap down to just ten seconds, Schachmann and Teuns attacked out of the peloton and made the junction. Heading into the last kilometre Benoot hung off the back of the group before making an attack on the other side of the road, managing to get a small gap. Giving it his all, he dug deep but was caught inside the final 300 metres, yet held on strongly for third place on the day. Combined with the bonus seconds he gained earlier, he sits in second place on GC after the opening stage.
Behind in the reduced peloton, Bol delivered a very impressive and dominant sprint to claim fifth place and move into the lead of the young rider’s jersey, rounding off a great display from the team today.
|1||SCHACHMANN Maximilian||BORA - hansgrohe||3:32:19||60|
|2||TEUNS Dylan||Bahrain - McLaren||,,||25|
|3||BENOOT Tiesj||Team Sunweb||,,||10|
|5||BOL Cees||Team Sunweb||0:15||-|
|23||KRAGH ANDERSEN Søren||Team Sunweb||,,||-|
|26||MATTHEWS Michael||Team Sunweb||,,||-|
|29||ARNDT Nikias||Team Sunweb||,,||-|
|100||HAMILTON Chris||Team Sunweb||9:33||-|
|101||EEKHOFF Nils||Team Sunweb||,,||-|
|110||DENZ Nico||Team Sunweb||11:27||-|
|1||SCHACHMANN Maximilian||BORA - hansgrohe||3:32:09|
|2||BENOOT Tiesj||Team Sunweb||0:02|
|3||TEUNS Dylan||Bahrain - McLaren||0:04|
|7||BOL Cees||Team Sunweb||0:25|
|23||KRAGH ANDERSEN Søren||Team Sunweb||,,|
|26||MATTHEWS Michael||Team Sunweb||,,|
|29||ARNDT Nikias||Team Sunweb||,,|
|100||HAMILTON Chris||Team Sunweb||9:43|
|101||EEKHOFF Nils||Team Sunweb||,,|
|110||DENZ Nico||Team Sunweb||11:37|
|1||SCHACHMANN Maximilian||BORA - hansgrohe||15|
|2||ALAPHILIPPE Julian||Deceuninck - Quick Step||13|
|3||BENOOT Tiesj||Team Sunweb||13|
|5||BOL Cees||Team Sunweb||6|
|1||HIVERT Jonathan||Team Total Direct Energie||8|
|2||BENOOT Tiesj||Team Sunweb||4|
|3||VAN GESTEL Dries||Team Total Direct Energie||3|
|1||BOL Cees||Team Sunweb||3:32:34|
|2||HIGUITA Sergio||EF Pro Cycling||,,|
|3||ASGREEN Kasper||Deceuninck - Quick Step||,,|
|13||HAMILTON Chris||Team Sunweb||9:18|
|14||EEKHOFF Nils||Team Sunweb||,,|
|2||Deceuninck - Quick Step||0:03|
|3||BORA - hansgrohe||0:15|
|4||Israel Start-Up Nation||,,|
|5||EF Pro Cycling||,,|
|6||Bahrain - McLaren||1:29|
|8||Groupama - FDJ||2:16|
|9||Trek - Segafredo||2:42|
|10||NTT Pro Cycling||3:06|