Race report

Great teamwork sees Team Sunweb limit losses after misfortune

Paris-Nice

After a wind and rain-soaked opening stage at Paris-Nice yesterday, the peloton was once again greeted by heavy rain as they rolled out of the start town of Chevreuse. A mostly flat 166 kilometre long route lay ahead of them but with more exposed sections of road and some wind, albeit not as strong as on stage one, it was set to be another tense day in the bunch.

Once out of the neutralised zone a two rider breakaway managed to form at the front of the race and the bunch began to set a steady tempo behind. The breakaway’s gap continued to grow, reaching a maximum of three minutes but the peloton were always in control and at the half-way point in the stage the gap had decreased to only one minute and 35 seconds. The downward trend continued and with just over 60 kilometres to go the breakaway was absorbed by the bunch and the race situation reset.

This led to a very nervous hour or so of racing as the most exposed roads still lay ahead of the bunch. An increase in pace before a change in direction saw the bunch split to pieces, with the team riding exceptionally well to place six guys in the front group. Sudden movements in the peloton caused us to brake and the team found themselves spread between the two groups.

Second place on GC Tiesj Benoot was in the second group on the road, so the rest of the team that were in the front group, sat up and waited, before everyone contributed fully to the chase. The team rode strongly to limit the losses on the day, crossing the line 36 seconds behind the stage winner.

“Today was another hectic day with the cold weather and rain,” explained road captain Nikias Arndt. “We did well as a team and stuck well together at the important points. Towards the final when the race really started we were in a good position together in front. Unfortunately, Tiesj had to brake a few times after some movements in the bunch and he was caught out behind in a split. We put all our effort into getting Tiesj back and to minimise the time to the front group. I think we did really well there, worked with the whole team for him and could minimise the damage. It was unfortunate that we missed the group with Tiesj because it was a really good team effort today.”

Team Sunweb coach Marc Reef added: “It was a hard day with the cold and rainy conditions. Until the feed zone nothing really happened but after 130 kilometres the race started to explode. After the first split we were in the front group. Then at one moment there was a lot of movement across the road in the group and Tiesj ended up in a group behind. The rest of the guys waited up and we chased fully until the finish. It was some bad luck after having six guys up there. In the end we lost around 35 seconds to those in the front group and 18 to some other GC contenders in the next group.”

Results

Pos. Rider Team Time Points
1 NIZZOLO Giacomo NTT Pro Cycling 3:49:57 60
2 ACKERMANN Pascal BORA - hansgrohe ,, 25
3 STUYVEN Jasper Trek - Segafredo ,, 10
32 MATTHEWS Michael Team Sunweb 0:36 -
34 BENOOT Tiesj Team Sunweb ,, -
38 KRAGH ANDERSEN Søren Team Sunweb ,, -
50 EEKHOFF Nils Team Sunweb 1:22 -
55 ARNDT Nikias Team Sunweb 1:25 -
58 BOL Cees Team Sunweb ,, -
81 DENZ Nico Team Sunweb 3:05 -
113 HAMILTON Chris Team Sunweb 5:35 -