KLAUS’ KLIFF KNOTES: PROLOGUE THRU STAGE 02
As is often the case, Paris-Nice started this year with a Prologue. The 6.7 kilometer route (that’s 4.1 miles for those of the Imperial persuasion) left little room for error, and favored more explosive riders. In the end it was Kwiatkowski who took the win, ahead of an impressive list of competitors that included Tony Martin—who only recently stopped his training as a police officer in Germany.
Stage 1, from Saint-Rémy-lès-Chevreuse to Contres was one for the sprinters, both in terms of the finish, as well as the intermediate sprint, which allowed Dagenkolb and Matthews to pick up points and bonus seconds along the way. Despite the expected breaks featuring French riders, the peloton caught the last riders with 1.5 kilometers to go. Katusha gave Alexander Kristoff a well-timed lead-out, allowing him to win—a frustrating result for French sprinters Nacer Buhanni and Bryan Coquard who came in second and third respectively.
Stage 2 was bound to be yet another day for the sprinters, despite attempts by Cannondale-Garmin to break things up by pulling hard during apparent crosswinds, unfortunately their efforts didn’t seem to affect anyone. The arrival of a collected peloton into Saint-Amand-Montrond (a town with a list of famous residents that is five people long, and includes a college professor) set things up for a bunch sprint, which André Greipel (nickname: Gorilla) won. This meant that there were no significant changes to the overall classification, and that the real race for the GC will begin on Stage Four into Croix de Chaubouret.