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Re: Paris - Nice
« on: March 10, 2019, 15:10 »
Today's stage was short and intense, and about as far from an excuse for the teams to show off their sprint trains asyou can get. With really strong gusts of winds several riders were literally blown off road, and the peloton split into smaller and smaller groups as the crosswinds hit them. This despite today's course being quite protected in forests (ok, without leaves) and small tributary-river valleys most of the time, and despite the parcours being a turny-twisty affair of a lap raced 1 time, so the riders had to face the wind at all orientations, not just crosswinds.

So, if the best sprinter with the best sprint train happens to come from the country where there's less to stop the wind, and cyclists seem to spend all their youth days racing in bordures , then today's victory was hardly a suprise - as the King Bee #jumbo Groenewegen managed to hold off a cleverly positioned #lotto Caleb Ewan with a few hair widths . Ewan was very well poisitoned on Groenewegen's wheel and started his sprint with very good timing, but lacked jus the little extra to win it. There were several other quite fast finishers present, but all the others clearly lacked the top speed that the top 2 were able to produce.

With such a hard stage, we saw quite a few out the back relatively early on, including a few sprinters 
  • #didata Cavendish
  • #ef Dan McClay
  • #ccc Jakub Marezko
  • #didata Bonifazio
  • #uae Kristoff
Cavendish just looked off the pace, while Kristoff had some shoe trouble at the wrong moment and could never get back to the front.

The stage of course also had bad consequences for some GC candidates, the first thing I saw was
  • #sky Ivan Sósa -  riding into the ditch
  • #ef Rigoberto Uran  - did the same
  • #uae Henao -  supposed to have been in a crash as well
so the claim that Colombians and  crosswinds is a difficult combination still has some merit. 

Other GC riders most likely dropped out of contention (most likely because....there may be more tomorrow, who knows):
  • #ef Tejay van Gaarderen
  • #astana Ion Izagirre
  • #uae Fabio Aru
  • #katusha Simon Spilak
  • #dimension Lois Meintjes (all about 2:45 down)
  • #astana Miguel Angel Lopez
  • #movistar Marc Soler
  • #ef Daniel Martinez
  • #ccc Amaro Antunes- - all about 1:00 down.

Top of GC situation so so far:
  • #sky (Kwiatkowski and Bernal) looked to be the team most on the offensive for the GC
  • #quickstep Jungels was not going to let them get away when they attacked in the crosswinds
also in the front group:
  • #mitchelton Simon Yates
  • #movistar Nairo Quintana
  • #ag2r Bardet (no cheating this time  :cool)
  • #fdj Rudy Molard

Bottom line:  Even with a few of the contenders out, this is tarting to look like it will be a good race :cool
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