The second stage of this year’s Paris – Nice proved to be another day spent battling fierce crosswinds and striving to survive the ruthless nature of life amongst the echelons. After a strong fight, Wilco Kelderman kept his GC hopes alive finishing in the first main group on the road.
Beginning in Les Bréviaires, it was not long until the 163.5km stage to Bellegarde started to see the peloton fracture once again, thanks to a combination of strong crosswinds and extremely limited opportunities for shelter. Despite seeing his support diminished in the absence of teammates Michael Matthews and Martijn Tusveld, general classification focused Wilco produced a strong performance which kept him in the leading group for much of the day.
Under the concluding attacks of the afternoon, a small group eventually splintered from the bunch and went onwards to contest the victory amongst themselves, while Kelderman crossed the line within the bunch in 26th place.
Wilco now sits in 25th overall, 25 seconds down on the overall race leader, having placed 26th on the stage. The action returns tomorrow with a 200km stage from Cepoy to Moulines/Yzeure, over gentle rolling terrain throughout the day.