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Paris-Nice Stage 2 Preview

Another day, another sprint stage and the conditions shouldn’t be as wild as yesterday’s stage.

“Tout sur terre appartient aux princes, hors le vent“, Victor Hugo

Chevreuse Hills 55×11: Hollywood actor Luke Perry died last week and his role as Dylan McKay in a US TV show “Beverly Hills 90210” was so popular in the early 1990s that parents started naming their children after him. The likes of Dylan Groenewegen, Dylan Teuns and Dylan van Baarle – all born in 1992 and 1993 – probably owe their first name to Perry rather than poets Bob Dylan or Dylan Thomas. The stage itself went to script, and as a pilot episode for the week this was a thrilling start with the crosswinds and a close final sprint. Groenewegen won a hectic stage that saw the peloton split, regroup and split again in the crosswinds of the Chevreuse valley, at one point the gusts were putting riders into the ditch and those who stayed upright were riding diagonally. Things calmed a touch for the final and we got a good sprint with Groenewegen just winning ahead of Caleb Ewan. Several GC contenders were left cross by the wind including last year’s winner Marc Soler, Miguel Angel Lopez and Ion Izagirre for, in a race usually decided by seconds their, chances have been blown away. Egan Bernal impressed, at one point attacking in the crosswinds, if he has a weakness we’ve yet to see it.

The Route: 163km south by south-east and across largely flat terrain where the tallest buildings used to be church towers, then came the water towers and now it’s the wind turbines which provide us with clues for today’s racing, this is all exposed terrain and there are many long, straight sections of road. There are two early climbs to reward the breakaway.

The Finish: there’s a finishing circuit where they do the final six kilometres and cross the line before going out for a triangular lap on small, exposed roads where large fields are interspersed with small wooded sections for cover. The finishing straight is long and flat as they approach the small town of Bellegarde.

The Contenders: a repeat of yesterday’s stage is likely, although the conditions will be calmer. It’ll be windy but not wild. Dylan Groenewegen is good enough that he can win a second stage and his team showed they were collectively strong while Caleb Ewan was millimetres short of the win yesterday but he has a habit of coming close sometimes.

Among the rest Fabio Jakobsen, Sam Bennett and Arnaud Démare should be close and watch to see if Marcel Kittel and Mark Cavendish get in the mix this time, or not.

Dylan Groenwegen, Caleb Ewan
Fabio Jakobsen, Arnaud Démare
Bennett, Kittel, Kristoff, Bonifazio

Weather: sunshine and showers, a top temperature of 11°C and a tailwind for much of the day of 20km/h but this could gust to 40km/h and there are sections of road along the way and the finishing circuit to exploit.

TV: the finish is forecast for 4.30pm Euro time. It should be available on the same channel you watch the Tour de France and/or Eurosport. If not then cyclingfans and steephill.tv have schedules and streams.

Comments on this entry are closed.

  • JT Monday, 11 March 2019, 8:13 am

    Astana’s tactics were baffling yesterday ! Their two GC men lost minutes whilst they had riders in the front group such as LL Sanchez going for bonus seconds.

    • JeroenK Monday, 11 March 2019, 10:01 am

      Which makes sense. LL taking seconds is control of further damage to their leaders. Or the leaders are not who you think they are?

  • KevinK Monday, 11 March 2019, 11:33 am

    Good call on yesterday’s stage, and I appreciate the reference to US TV history and current events as it relates to the racers. That show (‘90210’) and ‘The Simpson’s’ were what allowed Fox to go from a pathetic upstart to a global force. People forget that there were several other major new networks formed at the same time, which after hemorrhaging money for years went away or became bit players in the cable lineup.

    I’m hoping Bennett responds as he has done in the past after a disappointing first stage and shows more pop. He remains a bit of an enigma.

  • Digahole Monday, 11 March 2019, 11:49 am

    Rowe said that prior to the start yesterday he’d be explaining to Bernal how to ride crosswinds. It’s not even that the kid doesn’t have a weakness… seems he’s really good at everything!

    • hoh Monday, 11 March 2019, 3:04 pm

      Doubt Rowe has much Spanish in him. So for Bernal to understand the lesson, he must have his English sorted well enough. Commendable.

      I know they speak Welsh in part of South America. But that was in Patagonia in south Argentina, much further southern than where Bernal was coming from. But I will be suitably impressed if he actually speaks Welsh.

      • Digahole Monday, 11 March 2019, 4:05 pm

        Cycling and language prodigy 😉

        • hoh Monday, 11 March 2019, 4:23 pm

          Well, given the help he got from Rowe in the first two stages, he might as well learn to say “thank you” or “happy birthday” in Welsh.

      • UHJ Tuesday, 12 March 2019, 10:02 am

        Now you got me intrigued; why the bloody something would Welsh end up as a language spoken in Patagonia? Google-google-google, “The Welsh Settlement in Patagonia, Argentina…Province of Chubut” – https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Patagonian_Welsh
        That was interesting, Welsh actually migrated to protect their culture and language! Says something about the British Empire and expansion back then; mid 1800.
        Thanks, hoh.

  • Watts Monday, 11 March 2019, 12:23 pm

    Starting to feel sorry for Cav. I know he was ill, but in interviews recently he seems to be an excuse for himself. It’s like he doesn’t believe in himself anymore.

  • Anonymous Monday, 11 March 2019, 12:38 pm

    That’s some wild theory about the Dylans, in Germany the show aired first in July 1992. I don’t know about the Benelux states, where those riders come from, but I doubt it was much earlier. All other countries I found in Europe also had second half of 92 as start date. So these parents must have fallen in love with this series character right from the start. And it asn’t like today back then, when US tv shows are available within days or at the same day.

    • Martijn Doekes Monday, 11 March 2019, 2:14 pm

      The stats are pretty clear:


      Unless you know another Dylan?

      • Anonymous Monday, 11 March 2019, 4:30 pm

        Bob and Thomas, of course.
        I just can’t imagine people fall for a name after they watched first episodes of a tv show. But what do I know about hormonal state of becoming mothers. 😉

        • Ecky Thump Monday, 11 March 2019, 6:04 pm

          Firstly, this article is beautifully written. Very clever and witty.
          The ‘Dylan’ tale could well be true –

          There’s a huge peak in its popularity in the US in the early 90s.
          The graphs for its Dutch and Belgian use are not over the same timescale but they do demonstrate that Dylan was more popular around the turn of the Millennium and has declined in use gradually since then.

          I do remember this television series, not my thing but it was a big big hit and Inner Ring’s deduction seems quite plausible to me.

    • tjf Monday, 11 March 2019, 4:33 pm

      I read somewhere that Sonny Colbrelli was named for Sonny Crockett, of Miami Vice fame.

      • The Inner Ring Monday, 11 March 2019, 5:29 pm

        You might have read it here, it’s certainly correct.

  • Terence McMahon Monday, 11 March 2019, 1:35 pm

    Great stage yesterday with Sky once again showing how to race the early stages of Paris – Nice, not quite as good for them as stage 2 to Orléans in 2012, but expect further damage to some of the overall contenders today.

    Love the Dylan theory! 🙂

  • AndyW Monday, 11 March 2019, 2:39 pm

    Other Dylans ?

    Well, the legendary Ronnie Barker in ‘Porridge’, to another prisoner, Melvyn

    Fletcher: Hello, Dylan.
    Melvyn: Hey, man, my name’s Melvyn. What’s this “Dylan” scene?
    Fletcher: It’s affectionate, not malicious. You see, you do remind us of Dylan.
    Melvyn: Bob Dylan?
    Fletcher: No, the hippy rabbit on the “Magic Roundabout”.

  • KevinK Monday, 11 March 2019, 9:25 pm

    Sad to see the carnage with those nasty cross winds today. I had my own cross-wind experience two days ago, riding along the Amstel with 25 mph crosswinds. That was bad enough, but while I was riding, leaning sideways into the wind, a car with a large rectangular trailer passed me. There were cyclists on the other side of the road, so he was much too close to me, and as the trailer went by the winds were momentarily completely blocked. I came within millimeters of lurching into the trailer’s outboard wheel housing. It was frightening to say the least, and if it had happened after a longer, more tiring ride, I doubt I would have had the quickness and energy to save myself.

  • Joe K. Tuesday, 12 March 2019, 5:32 am

    “Several GC contenders were left cross by the wind, … ”
    Now I know why they’re called cross-winds!