1. Gregory Henderson (New Zealand) Team Sky
2. Matthew Goss (Australia) HTC-Highroad
3. Denis Galimzyanov (Russia) Katusha
4. Romain Feillu (France) Vacansoleil
5. Peter Sagan (Slovakia) Liquigas.
New Zealand’s Gregory Henderson wins the 199-kms 2nd stage of Paris-Nice.
The HTC-Columbia riders lead the sprint.
Race leader De Gendt attacks! He is quickly reined in but that was bold...
Luis-Leon Sanchez punctured with 2.5 kms to go.
... and the Movistar riders still lead the way. De Gendt is in the leading positions too.
Movistar riders have been leading the pack for the last couple of kilometres.
Some 20 riders have lost ground, including Jakob Fuglsang, who crashed earlier, former escapees Yoann Offredo and Maxime Bouet, Christophe Riblon and Sergio Paulinho.
The peloton is very nervous with only 13 kms to go and the bunch has now split in three groups.
Two Astana riders are leading the bunch: Tomas Vaitkus and Alexandre Vinokourov.
With 18 kms to go, the mass sprint scenario seems more and more likely. Which raises a few questions. Will Haussler, who won the peloton’s sprint yesterday, be hampered by his crash? Will Denis Galimzyanov celebrate his birthday with a timely gift? Or will Greg Henderson repeat his victory in similar conditions two years ago? With Australia’s Matthew Goss and Slovakia’s Peter Sagan, these riders are among the favourites now.
..and the peloton regrouped, led by teams Astana and Liquigas.
Rabobank and Movistar have seized the lead of a regrouped peloton, obviously looking to split it up again. Meanwhile, Haussler is also back in the flock.
The German Team Highroad leader was brought back into the mai pack with 25 kms to go.
One of the race favourites, Germany’s Tony Martin (THR), was involved in a crash within the bunch but is back on his bike too.
Km 168 - Maxime Bouet has been caught by the peloton.
Australia’s Heinrich Haussler (Garmin), one of the favourites in case of a mass sprint, crashed in the roadside ditch but is back on his bike.
Maxime Bouet is alone in the front with a 20 seconds lead over the peloton.
The peloton is in St Genevieve des Bois, start of the last stage of the 1995 Tour de France, won by Djamolidine Abdoujaparov.
Km 166 - Tony Gallopin leaves Maxime Bouet on his own and waits for the peloton.
Maxime Bouet and Tony Gallopin were stopped by a railway crossing. The peloton was stopped in turn. The two will be allowed to start again with their 45 seconds lead over the bunch.
A collective pile-up took place, involving Frank Schleck, among others. But all the riders are back on their bike.
1. Tony Gallopin (Cofidis) 3 seconds, 3 points
2. Maxime Bouet (AG2R) 2 seconds, 2 points
3. Thomas de Gendt (Vacansoleil) One sec, one point.
Km 148 - Bouet and Gallopin lead the bunch by 45 seconds.
A crash took place in the peloton, involving Andriy Grivko (Astana), Johan van Summeren (Garmin) and Simone Ponzi (Liquigas). And the main pack was temporarily split as a result.
Km 143 - The gap goes down fast again. Only 1:05.
Km 141 - The Vacansoleil are back in the reins of the peloton, who now only trail the two escapees by 2:05.
Km 129 - The break regains momentum and the duo now lead the pack by four minutes.
As the peloton fails to generate "bordures" and slows down, the gap increases again: Bouet and Gallopin now lead the pack by 3:10.
Argentine Lucas Sebastian Haedo (Saxo Bank) crashed and gave up.
The dropped group just made it back within the main pack.
The average speed in the third hour of the stage was 34.5 kph. The overall average speed is 38.83 kph.
The group of dropped riders including Romain Sicard lies 40 seconds behind the bunch.
Km 115 - The gap between the two escapees and the peloton is down to 1:45.
The gap is going down. Bouet and Gallopin now only lead the main pack by 2:15 (km 113).
By returning to Amilly, the peloton is heading back to a familiar place. Amilly held two Paris-Nice prologues in 2008 and in 2009, won by Thor Hushovd and Alberto Contador.
Km 109 - The gap between the two escapees and the main pack is 3:05.
Euskaltel’s Romain Sicard is among the riders to lose ground after Team Sky’s effort.
Km 101 - After Thomas de Gendt’s Vacansoleil, Team Sky just seized the reins of the peloton. The tempo is going up and some riders are being dropped. Beware of the echelons!
At the feeding zone (km 93.5), the gap reaches 6:15.
The two leaders enter Pithiviers, the birthplace of RadioShack rider Geoffroy Lequatre, who will also ride past his grandmother’s house in Bellegarde at kilometre 125.
Km 88 - Without Offredo, the break seems to regain momentum. Bouet and Gallopin now lead the peloton by 4:45.
Cofidis team director Stephane Auge told www.letour.fr that Gallopin would continue the break as far as he could even though Offredo had decided to wait for the peloton: "Tony acted on instinct and now that he’s in the front he’ll go as far as he can. Offredo has given up to save strength but it’s not our policy. In a break, the peloton decides what to do but Tony was obviously glad to lead the race in his home region."
Asked about David Moncoutie’s withdrawal, Auge said: "He has a problem with a knee and looking ahead to the rest of the season, he decided to stop."
Yoann Offredo was caught by the main bunch at kilometre 83.
Km 81 - Offredo has slowed down, leaving Gallopin and Bouet alone in the lead.
In 2004, a "bordure", led by the CSC team, took shape in Pithiviers, allowing 30 riders to break from the main pack and reach Montargis with a five-minute lead. Franck Schleck, Michael Rogers, Jens Voigt, Christophe Le Mevel, Sylvain Cahavanel and Geoffroy Lequatre were among the riders who then took advantage of the echelon and the ensuing split.
The escapees are in Angervile (km 70), the hometown of Tony Gallopin’s father Joel.
Km 66 - At the sprint in Pussay, the gap went down to 3:50.
1. Tony Gallopin 3 seconds and 3 points
2. Yoann Offredo 2 secs and 2 pts
3. Maxime Bouet 1 sec and one point
Km 50 - The lead of the three escapees is stable at 4:50.
Cofidis team leader David Moncoutie, dropped in yesteday’s first stage, just called it quits.
Vincent Lavenu told www.letour.fr he had been in Maxime Bouet’s room last night to ask him to keep in an attacking mood: “We had decided to have someone in the break. I always ask my riders to be aggressive. It’s good for the lungs to take some air at the front. I recruited Maxime because he is that type of rider. Yesterday boldness paid off and it was a good example to follow,” he said.
Asked about AG2R’s goals on this Paris-Nice, Lavenu said that Nicolas Roche was not at his best yet after being injured early in the season while Jean-Christophe Peraud was in better shape and “should be with the best in the hardest bits” of the race.
But Lavenu was wary about echelons in the next half of this stage, especially after Pithiviers, and asked his riders for caution.
The average speed for the first hour of the stage was 42.8 kph.
Two Paris-Nice prologues also took place in Dourdan in 1971 and 1972 and were both won by Eddy Merckx ahead of Raymond Poulidor.
The three escapees are in Dourdan, the birthplace of Tony Gallopin.
The three escapees are in St Arnoult en Yvelines, which is well known by riders as the starting place of Paris-Tours between 2001 and 2008. It was also the start of Paris-Nice’s first stage last year, won by Gregory Henderson.
The peloton is in Clairefontaine, home of the French national soccer team.
Russian sprinter Denis Galimzyanov is 24 today. Letour.fr wishes him a happy birthday.
Km 23 - Offredo, Bouet and Gallopin now lead the main pack by five minutes.
The peloton is in Rambouillet, where Belgium’s Edward Sels won a Tour de France stage in 1966. A second half-stage in the afternoon led the peloton back to Paris and it was won by Rudi Altig. Lucien Aimar won the Tour that same day.
In L’Equipe, race leader Thomas de Gendt explains that he had been approached by Belgian teams Quick Step and Omega-Lotto at the end of last season but had felt reluctant to become a domestique of either Tom Boonen or Philippe Gilbert: “I also had an offer from Vacansoleil and I went for the Dutch team as I had a better feeling with them,” he said.
In L’Equipe, Stephane Auge, making his debut at Cofidis team director, explained what happened to France’s David Moncoutie, who was dropped in yesterday’s stage and lost four minutes: “He was dropped with 25 kms to go. He was not well placed and since his knee hurt, we decided not to take risks and let him relax and take it easy until the finish.”
Interviewed by Le Parisien-Aujourd’hui, France’s Sylvain Chavanel warns against surprises on this Paris-Nice : “To feature well in the GC, you need to keep focused. In every stage, upsets are to be expected,” he said.
Km 66 – Pussay
Km 153.5 – Varennes-Changy
Km 17 - The lead of the three escapees now reaches 4:40. The whole of the Vacansoleil team is leading the bunch.
The three escapees are under 25, which confirms that this 69th edition of Paris-Nice is an ideal showcase for the up-and-coming generation. Yesterday’s first break was also staged by two under-25 riders, Damien Gaudin and Gorka Izagirre, and the stage was won by Thomas de Gendt, 24.
Yoann Offredo is also familiar with the course as he was born in Savigny-sur-Orge, in the Essone department that the peloton will enter in 40 kms.
Km 4 - The lead of Gallopin, Bouet and Offredo is now 2:40.
Tony Gallopin, the son of former pro rider Joel and the nephew of RadioShack team director Alain, is obviously eager to be seen in the lead in his native town of Dourdan, at km 41.5.
Three riders have attacked from the gun: Yoann Offredo (FDJ), Maxime Bouet (AG2R) and Tony Gallopin (Cofidis). The first gap: one minute.
The start of the second stage was given at 12:19 to 175 riders. Velits did not start.
The yellow jersey is on the shoulders of Belgium’s Thomas de Gendt, winner of the first stage in Houdan. The Vacansoleil rider leads Jeremy Roy (FDJ) by six seconds and Heinrich Haussler (Garmin) by nine seconds. De Gendt also leads the points and young rider classifications, but the green jersey will be worn by Roy while Slovakia’s Peter Sagan (Liquigas), will put on the white jersey. Europcar’s Damien Gaudin wears the polka dot jersey and will retain it at the end of the day if he finishes the stage as there are no registered climbs on this stage.
The sky is blue for the whole of the 199-kms stage but the temperature is freezing.
Slovakia’s Martin Velits (THR), hurt in a crash in yestesday’s stage, will not start.
Welcome on the 199-kms second stage of Paris-Nice between Montfort l’Amaury and Amilly.