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Paris-Nice Stage 2 Preview

A flat route and a possible sprint finish but watch out for the weather as the forecast overnight has changed, suggesting stronger winds and it’s all on terrain so exposed it won’t take much to split the bunch again… if the stage goes ahead as last night the French government moved the threshold for permissible events from 5,000 down to 1,000 people.

Grim Plaisir: dire conditions saw the race split early and regroup only for a big crash to fracture the peloton again and among the riders caught out was Max Schachmann but he made it back. Eventually Julian Alaphilippe and Tiesj Benoot escaped from the reduced peloton and the duo held a slender lead on the bunch such that on the final climb Dylan Teuns and Schachmann were able to bridge across to form a quartet from which Schachmann won the stage and takes the race lead. All four look good for the coming days, Alaphilippe had been on antibiotics and complaining about the cold but seems to be improving.

There were plenty of losers with only 30 riders in the front group by the end and the second group rolled in minutes down with the likes of Richie Porte, Guillaume Martin, Romain Bardet and Pierre Latour, all losing time although they’re frequently on the receiving end in these conditions; they have room now to chase a stage win. Warren Barguil fared worse, crashing and then being paced back too flagrantly and got disqualified.

The Route: 166km to Châlette-sur-Loing, home of the Hutchinson rubber company, the last place in France where they still make bicycle tires. It’s typically flat and often on very exposed roads past dormant cereal fields and the final 50km feature some narrow tertiary roads. The course is south-east on the whole meaning a crosswind for much of the time but the route changes direction several times including in the final 50km with headwind and tailwind sections too.

The Finish: after a narrow section through town, including a tight roundabout, there’s 2km long finishing straight on a wide road which begins with two small rises and descents then it’s flat.

The Contenders: a sprint finish? Probably this time although the bunch could split on the run but if a group arrives it’s still advantageous to the sprinters who make it. Caleb Ewan (Lotto-Soudal) is the top pick if he can get through the grim conditions with Sam Bennett (Deceuninck-Quickstep) close by and Elia Viviani still on the hunt for his first win with Cofidis. Once again take your pick from any of the classics contenders in the bunch too. Update: 10.30am: Pascal Ackermann (Bora-Hansgrohe) rides too and is a good pick for a cold, wet day.

Caleb Ewan
Pascal Ackermann, Sam Bennett, Cees Bol
Viviani, Bouhanni, Nizzolo, Hofstetter

 

Weather (updated): sunshine and possible rain showers, a top temperature of 12°C. It’ll be windy at 20-30km/h in places, not as windy as yesterday… nor as windy as tomorrow. The wind will blow from the W/NW implying a 3/4 tailwind for much of the day but the route twists and turns.

TV: roughly 90 minutes of live coverage and the finish is forecast for 4.25pm CET. It should be available on the same channel you watch the Tour de France and/or Eurosport.

Comments on this entry are closed.

  • MM Monday, 9 March 2020, 10:38 am

    What a great day’s racing. Brutal conditions and everyone looked like they suffered, just what we want. I love how Deceuninck – Quick-Step play the game of getting a rider in the break and then sitting behind the guy chasing. We saw it in Kuurne-Brussels-Kuurne too, at one point there were three of them behind the chaser. It must be demoralising to be at the front, giving it your all and right behind you is a team pulling you back.

    I hope today’s stage goes ahead, overnight the French Government has changed its coronavirus procedures.

  • Ferdi Monday, 9 March 2020, 10:47 am

    Brilliant stage yesterday. Very good course, with its narrow roads, its hills, and even cobbles. Should inspire ASO for Le Tour’s last stage, some day.
    Alaphilippe seemed to suffer from the cold, especially in his hands. But he was only wearing paper-thin summer mitts. Benoot wasn’t even wearing any handwear, and almost nobody was wearing proper winter gloves. With the very insulating, effective and comfortable gloves that exist nowadays, I found it shocking that so few riders were using them on such a grim day. I also wonder if the clothing brands don’t encourage the use of their products, and I also wonder why riders demand eccentric things like weather protocols, when they don’t even bother to dress properly on a cold wet day.

    • Morten Reippuert Monday, 9 March 2020, 12:00 pm

      Mads P rode the last +100k in yorkshire in skinsuit only: short legs, short sleves, no legwarmers, no armwarmers, no mitt, no jacket, no overshoes – just summer gloves and vaseline on legs and arms.

      If you go hard, remember to eat you dont freze as long as you keep rideing.

    • Lukyluk Monday, 9 March 2020, 12:47 pm

      I think the weather at the start wasn’t nearly as bad as what it was when they came back to Plaisir. With the race as it unfurled, good luck finding 3-4km of respite to put a gilet on, without the risk of losing your spot in the first echelon…

  • Rolf Monday, 9 March 2020, 10:59 am

    Benoot seems to like this weekend and crappy weather.

  • Pilgrim Monday, 9 March 2020, 11:27 am

    After the understandable but still annoying cancellation of Strade Bianchi on the saturday, what joy was this! Stage 1 was great. Cold, windy, echelons, thrills and spills. Lots more, please!

  • Morten Reippuert Monday, 9 March 2020, 11:49 am

    hmm… Same days as in yesterdays prediction – yet all of them except from Cees was dumped early in the wind.

    I dont see any ofthe regular sprinters making it with the main group today either.

  • RQS Monday, 9 March 2020, 1:52 pm

    Antibiotics for a cold? What’s their doctors speciality?

    • Morten Reippuert Monday, 9 March 2020, 3:00 pm

      A goal to develop the next Antimicrobial resistance.

      In certain countries its common to perscribe Antibiotics for vira, just like in certain countries farm animals are feed antibiotic as their regular diets.

      Its far more dangeous for humanity than corvis 17.

    • DaveRides Monday, 9 March 2020, 3:01 pm

      He was on antibiotics for an infection prior to the race AND unhappy with the cold weather, not on antibiotics for a head cold.

      • Morten Reippuert Monday, 9 March 2020, 5:30 pm

        Bacterial or viral ? Differnce is huge and serious. Most cold / post cold infections are viral for which antibiotic does not help the patient. And damages everyone as it only helps bacterial infections among aal of us be become resistant to the known antibiotics.

        • Lukyluk Tuesday, 10 March 2020, 1:11 am

          Unlike people reacting on comment sections here, the physicians who prescribed him antibiotics have actually *examined* Alaphilippe. Maybe we should give the team a minimum of credit, considering consequences to digestion, metabolism, etc. nobody at this level of the sport is taking antibiotics for the fun of it.

    • Jean Monday, 9 March 2020, 8:19 pm

      @Innerring
      I don’t read any reaction against those comments concerning viruses and bacteria, as you did before concerning my comment. And my comment was relevant, and a relativism against disproportional and irrational comments concerning the coronavirus in and around cycling. So, applying a double standard ?

      • RQS Monday, 9 March 2020, 8:34 pm

        Who is talking about the coronavirus? Doctors do pedal antibiotics to virally infected patients, but this is because of the placebo effect. As Morten picked up, they really shouldn’t do this because viruses are not affected by antibiotics, and the unnecessary usage of them potentially gives rise to resistant strains of bacteria which is pretty serious. I would hope that a World Tour Doctor, whatever else he does, doesn’t succumb to this type of quackery. It’s the reason we now have superbugs in hospitals, which are increasingly more difficult to fight. If DaveRides is correct then potentially the doctors done the right thing.

        • KevinK Monday, 9 March 2020, 9:41 pm

          Most pro athletes, along with most serious amateurs, take tons of supplements and vitamins and snake oils that do absolutely nothing except waste money. This is probably one of those cases where antibiotics have been given in the off chance that a bacterial infection might be brewing. There are still doctors out there who think antibiotics might help with things like bronchitis, and figure the downside is close to nil so why not? Yes, it’s a terrible practice in the big picture, but in the moment it doesn’t seem such a big deal.

          I will say that in my time practicing medicine, it was almost always patients insisting on being prescribed antibiotics, not doctors peddling them. Unless you meant the doctors were pedaling antibiotics for cyclists pedaling bikes (sorry for the pun on the misspelling).

          • RQS Monday, 9 March 2020, 11:33 pm

            Having watched a program with Dr Max Moseley (I think) where he shadowed some GPs I understand this practise. The doctors prescribed antibiotics to patients that didn’t need them. This was largely at the patients request, and the doctors did so for an easy life. You sort of expect more from such gatekeepers.

          • Whaleoilbeefhooked Tuesday, 10 March 2020, 6:00 am

            Michael Moseley.

            Max Moseley has become known for other indiscretions. He may have played Doctors and Nurses at some point.