Dylan Groenewegen (Lotto Nl-Jumbo) wins Paris-Nice 2018 stage 2. The Dutchman takes the sprint in Vierzon – whose conclusive couple hundred meters have proved to be very steep – after 187,5 kilometers of racing, half of those ridden like an outing to the countryside. Lotto Nl-Jumbo rider takes the fifth success throughout this season, proving once again that he is one of the best sprinters of the whole World. Groenewegen takes the sprint over Elia Viviani (Quick Step Floors), who shows once again how much he has improved his sprinting skills, André Greipel (Lotto-Soudal), Phil Bauhaus (Sunweb) and GC leader Arnaud Demare (Groupama-FDJ), who finishes in fifth. Arnaud Demare keeps on his shoulders the overall classification jersey.
Today stage was expected to be a tricky one due to the possibility of crosswind and headwind to break out or at least harden the race. This is just the opposite of what actually happened in the two first hours of racing. In facts the group proceeded all together and none of the competitors attempted to take advantage over the peloton. The only highlights of the opening 70 kilometers are Alberto Rui Costa (UAE Team Emirates) abandon because of the consequences of the crash occurred yesterday and the sprint taken by Arnaud Demare (Groupama-FDJ) over Julien Alaphilippe (Quick Step Floors). In addiction to extra points for the green jersey competition Demare also gets 3 bonus seconds together with the intermediate sprint success.
With over 90 kilometers remaining the breakaway finally forms: Manuele Boaro (Bahrain-Merida), Thiago Machado (Katusha-Alpecin), Oliver Naesen (Ag2r La Mondiale), Thomas De Gendt (Lotto-Soudal), Anthony Delaplace (Fortuneo-Samsic) and Lars Boom (Lotto Nl-Jumbo) open a 40” advantage over the peloton. Pierre Rolland (EF Education First-Drapac), who lives in the region that is holding the race, tries to jump across the gap but his attempt fails. The sprinters’ teams, especially Groupama-FDJ, aren’t feeling like letting expert riders like Boom and Naesen to escape so, 26 kilometers after, the break is swallowed in the peloton.
By the way Boaro and Machado do not want to give up and so attempt a counter-attack. The duo succeeds in opening a discrete gap over the pack and, with 45 kilometers to go, the Italian and the Portuguese sit 3 minutes ahead the peloton. Firstly Groupama-FDJ and then Lotto-Soudal (mainly with Thomas De Gendt), Lotto Nl-Jumbo, Quick Step Floors and Trek-Segafredo lead the chase and only with over 27 kilometers remaining the gap drops below two minutes. In the meantime Christophe Laporte (Cofidis) has a mechanical problem: the Frenchman achieved in reeling the wheels of the peloton thanks to the help of one of his teammates.
The peloton gains ground over the breakaway but not enough rapidly to chase Boaro and Machado before the intermediate sprint set with 14,5 kilometers to go: Machado crosses the line in first, followed by Boaro and then Julien Alaphilippe (Quick Step Floors). The break succeeds in sitting a dozen seconds ahead the bunch until 4 kilometers to go: the corageous try of the duo is called off by Lotto-Soudal, whose lead is taken by Quick Step Floors soon after. The Belgian squad heads the group until the last hundred meters of racing but, along the slopes of Vierzon up-hill finish, Dylan Groenewegen overtakes all of his rivals and takes the stage success. Arnaud Demare now leads the overall with 10 seconds of advantage over Julien Alahpilippe and 13 seconds ahead Mike Teunissen (Sunweb) and Gorka Izagirre (Bahrain-Merida).
Paris-Nice 2018 Stage 2 Results
1 GROENEWEGEN Dylan Team LottoNL-Jumbo 60 50 4:51:31
2 VIVIANI Elia Quick-Step Floors
3 GREIPEL André Lotto Soudal
4 BAUHAUS Phil Team Sunweb
5 DÉMARE Arnaud Groupama – FDJ
6 TEUNISSEN Mike Team Sunweb
7 KRISTOFF Alexander UAE-Team Emirates
8 DRUCKER Jean-Pierre BMC Racing Team
9 DEGENKOLB John Trek – Segafredo
10 GARCIA CORTINA Ivan Bahrain Merida Pro Cycling Team
Paris-Nice Stage 2 Overall
1 DÉMARE Arnaud Groupama – FDJ 7:58:57
2 ALAPHILIPPE Julian Quick-Step Floors 0:10
3 TEUNISSEN Mike Team Sunweb 0:13
4 IZAGIRRE Gorka Bahrain Merida Pro Cycling Team ,,
5 LAPORTE Christophe Cofidis, Solutions Crédits 0:14
6 GALLOPIN Tony AG2R La Mondiale 0:15
7 HAUSSLER Heinrich Bahrain Merida Pro Cycling Team ,,
8 DEGENKOLB John Trek – Segafredo ,,
9 WELLENS Tim Lotto Soudal 0:19
10 CHAVES Johan Esteban Mitchelton-Scott 0:21