Crosswinds, crashes catch out GC contenders at Paris-Nice
10 March 2019 04:05
Crosswinds, crashes and a fast opening stage combined to knock nearly a dozen potential general classification contenders down the rankings after stage 1 at Paris-Nice. Pre-race sprint favourite Michael Matthews (Team Sunweb) suffered the biggest blow, going down in a crash 65km into the 138.5km stage and having to abandon. Riders losing the largest amount of time among the GC men were Colombians Sergio Henao (UAE Team Emirates) and Ivan Sosa (Team Sky), both of whom hit the ground during the stage and finished 4:31 and 4:32, respectively, behind stage winner Dylan Groenewegen (Jumbo-Visma). ADVERTISEMENT Other GC riders who fell victim to the conditions and racing included Tejay van Garderen (EF Education First) at 2:51, Domenico Pozzovio (Bahrain-Merida) at 2:48, Louis Meintjes (Dimension Data) at 2:44, Miguel Angel Lopez (Astana) at 1:04, defending champion Marc Soler (Movistar) at 1:03 and Esteban Chaves (Mitchelton-Scott) at 1:02. Sosa, who was runner-up last month in Tour Colombia 2.1 behind countryman Miguel Angel Lopez, was blown into a ditch by crosswinds with less than 70km to go. He did an admirable job of riding to a soft landing, but the time it took to remount and get back into rhythm saw the peloton quickly riding away in the harsh conditions that split the bunch into echelons. Rigoberto Uran (EF Education First) took an unexpected detour into the ditch a short time later, but he was able to regain the main bunch and finish on the same time as Groenewegen.
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