Top five placings in the 185.5-kms second stage of Paris-Nice between Mantes-la-Jolie and Orleans:
1. Tom Boonen (OPQ)
2. Jose Joaquin Rojas (MOV)
3. John Degenkolb (PRO)
4. Sep Vanmarcke (GRM)
5. Francesco Gavazzi (AST)
Belgian Tom Boonen (OPQ) wins the 185.5-kms 2nd stage to Orleans.
Sep Vanmarcke (GRM) attacks but is reined in.
and Chavanel still leads the way for Tom Boonen.
Chavanel leads the way into the last 2 kms. A team effort by the Omega Pharma-Quick Step?
An attempt by Westra (VCD) with 4 kms to go. But Chavanel reins the Dutchman in.
Five kms to go for the leading group and the same 2:10 gap with the peloton.
Tom Boonen (OPQ), John Degenkolb (PRO), Francesco Gavazzi (AST) and Jose Joaquin Rojas (MOV) are on paper the fastest riders in the leading group.
and the gap between the 21 and the yellow jersey group is 2:10.
Movistar team director Yvon Ledanois had reasons to be satisfied with 10 kms to go:
“Movistar played it well today by placing our leader Alejandro Valverde and our sprinter Joaquin Rojas, in the leading group. Our priority is not for Valverde to lead the sprint for Rojas.”
The rain is back on the race and a violent drizzle now falls on the leading group.
Slovenia’s Simon Spilak (KAT) punctured with 25 kms to go. He is momentarily dropped from the leading group.
Omega Pharma-Quick Step team director Brian Holm made it clear his team were fighting on two fronts with four men in the leading group: "We’re first of all trying to take time for the GC for Cahavanel and Leipheimer. But it’s true that Tom Boonen remains a great sprinter and he can beat Degenkolb and Gavazzi today."
Km 155 - The gap between the 21 and the yellow jersey group is 2:25.
Degenkolb was held by a puncture but makes it back on the leading group.
Saur-Sojasun riders lead the chase but to little effect (2:25).
Km 151 - The leading 21 maintain the same 2:20 gap over the yellow jersey echelon.
Bradley Wiggins is obviously keen to grab every vailable second. With Larsson some two mintes adrift, the Briton is the virtual race leader.
Result of the sprint in Neuville-aux-Bois (Km 140)
1. Bradley Wiggins (SKY) 3 pts, 3 secs
2. Alejandro Valverde (MOV) 2
3. Maxime Monfort (RNT) 1 sec.
Second part of peloton 1:45 behind.
Defending Paris-Nice champion Tony Martin has also been trapped in one of the back echelons.
Km 130 - The 21 in the front lead the yellow jersey group by 1:40. Among the riders in the yellow jersey group feature Damiano Cunego and Sandy Casar.
The composition of the leading group is: Boonen, Chavanel, Leipheimer, Maes, Monfort, Wiggins, Thomas, Valverde, Rojas, Gavazzi, Kiserlovski, Westra, Ravard, Van Garderen, Jeannesson, Klier, Vanmarcke, Maaskant, Phinney, Spilak, Vicioso and Degenkolb.
At km 122, the 21 lead the second part of the peloton by 1:15.
The yellow jersey group is 1:25 adrift.
Km 108 - A crash took place in the leading group, holding six riders: Clarke, Niermann, Leukemans, Fischer, Haussler.
Km 108.5 - Angerville is the hometown of the Gallopins. One member of the family is on the race, Alain, the sports director of Team RadioShack, whose leader Andy Schleck is dropped at the back.
Yellow jersey holder Gustav Larsson is not in the leading group, which includes Bradley Wiggins, Levi Leipheimer and Tejay Van Garderen. The 30 in the front lead the rest of the bunch by 30 seconds.
Km 100 - The first peloton now comprises 30 men.
Kaisen has been caught by the leading eleven. Twelve men are in the front.
The peloton split shortly after the feeding zone (km 93.5). Eleven riders are now in the front, 30 seconds behind Kaisen.
As the weather gets worse, a few riders are struggling at the back of the bunch, among them Andy Schleck (RNT).
Liquigas team director Mario Scirea is convinced his young sprinter Elia Viviani is the man to watch today: "He’s going to win the stage," the Italian told www.letour.fr.
Viviani won four races this season, two stages of the Tour of Calabria, one in the Tour de San Luis and the GP della Costa Etruschi.
Km 88 - Kaisen leads the bunch by 1:55.
Thomas De Gendt (VCD) will retain his polka-dot jersey at the finish.
1. Olivier Kaisen (LTB) 3 points.
2. Thomas de Gendt (VCD) 2
3. Sylvain Chavanel (OPQ) 1
Olivier Kaisen is tackling the only climb of the day, Cote des Granges-le-Roi (3rd cat).
Km 80.5 – Dourdan was the start of several prologues and first stages of Paris-Nice in the early 1970s. The 1971 and 1972 prologues in town saw victories by Eddy Merckx.
The Namur-born Olivier Kaisen is 28. A time trial specialist, he won a stage in the Tour of Turkey in 2009.
Km 72 - Ivan Basso was involved in a crash but is back on his bike.
Km 74 - Kaisen now leads the peloton by 2:40.
The average speed in the second hour of the race was 40.4 kph. The overall average speed was 36.9 kph.
Km 71.5 – St Arnoult en Yvelines was the start of eight Paris-Nice stages between 2001 and 2010.
Riders are probably right to be cautious. Hail is falling on the finish line.
Km 70 - Kaisen now leads the peloton by 1:30.
Kaisen leads the bunch by 30 seconds.
Km 60.5 - First attempt of the day by Belgium’s Olivier Kaisen (LTB).
Km 60.5 - Rambouillet was a Tour de France finish in 1966. The stage, starting from Orleans, was won by Belgium’s Edward Sels. The next day, a stage to Paris was won by Rudy Altig. Rambouillet will be the start of the Tour’s final stage next July.
Vincent Lavenu (AG2R) told www.letour.fr that the headwind made it impossible for riders to make attempts: “There’s a fair amount of wind on the first part so we’re not trying too hard just now because we know it’s a stage for a bunch sprint. We know that the sprinters will chase in any case and a break is a bit useless at this stage. Echelons could take place but more in the second part of the stage.”
Km 44 - Peloton is still packed against headwind.
The 175 riders still in the race belong to 28 nations. France is the stronger contingent (40), followed by Belgium and Spain (22).
Belgium: 22 (23 minus Nuyens in stage 1)
United States: 6
Belarus, Slovenia : 3
Britain, Kazakhstan, Luxembourg, Norway, Poland, Switzerland: 2
Brazil, Colombia, Croatia, Estonia, Ireland, Japan, Lituania, New Zealand, Uzbekistan, Sweden: 1
Km 27.5 - Houdan was the start and finish of last year’s first stage won by Thomas de Gendt.
Iwan Spekenbrink, the manager of Team Project 1T4I, hopes for a mass sprint: “The windy conditions could actually be favourable if we managed to have someone in the break. But the best scenario would be for the peloton to regroup towards the end for Marcel Kittel to win the mass sprint.”
Km 21 - The 175 riders are still together.
Orleans was host to five stage finishes in Paris-Nice:
1937 – Rene Le Greves 1974 – Eddy Merckx 1994 – Mario Cipollini 1995 – Wilfried Nelissen.
Km 15 - Peloton rides slowly towards Orleans in strong headwind.
L’Equipe headlines on Bradley Wiggins, saying the Briton is now the arch-favourite in the race after his second place in yesterday’s first stage time trial.
“I was flying today (yesterday) I’m in the best shape of my career and I could feel it since my victory in Algarve. My goal was to take as much time off the other favourites and even though I’m a little disappointed with not winning the stage, I achieved that,” the Team Sky leader is quoted as saying.
Title-holder Tony Martin told l’Equipe he was on bad day: “I don’t know if it is the rain. Of course I took turns more slowly but I was never in the pace and I had cramps. I hope it was just a bad day.”
Km 8 - The peloton starts the day cautiously.
Simon Gerrans (Greenedge), is forecasting echelons today:
“With lots of teams wanting a bunch kick & a bit of wind about, I’m tipping today is going to be bloody nervous...”
Brent Bookwalter (BMC) is also worried about the wind: “Nice day in France, if you are looking to fly a kite.”
Winner of the first stage, Olympic silver-medallist Gustav Larsson (VCD) is of course holding the yellow jersey. The green jersey for the points leader is on the back of Briton Bradley Wiggins, who is one second behind the Swede in the GC.
Fastest on the 3rd cat hill on the first stage menu, Belgian Thomas De Gendt isthe first holder of the polka-dot jersey while American Tejay Van Garderen, 4th yesterday, is the best under-25 rider.
The start was given at 11:54 to 175 riders.
Nick Nuyens was effectively at the start but finally called it quits, feeling too bad to go any further.
Km 85: Cote des Granges-le-Roi (3rd cat).
Km 140 – Neuville-aux-Bois.
Despite crashing heavily in the first stage, Tour of Flanders winner Nick Nuyens (SAX) is starting today’s ride to Orleans: “He spent a good night. He’s stiff and sore but we’re hoping for the best,” team director Nick Gates told www.letour.fr
Welcome on the 185.5-kms second stage of Paris-Nice between Mantes-la-Jolie and Orleans. Weather is cold and windy and crosswinds could be a factor.