Tuesday March 5th, 2013

Stage 2Vimory / Cérilly

Start 11h10 GMT 2+

Fortune changes for Kittel and Bouhanni

Stage summary05.03.2013Stage 2- Vimory / Cérilly

Fortunes can change quickly on Paris-Nice as Marcel Kittel (ARG) found out when he clinched the second stage in Cerilly while the previous day's winner Nacer Bouhanni crashed out in an incident-ridden 200.5-kms ride from Vimory.
Germany's Kittel, who had missed the first bunch sprint in Nemours after a puncture, surged impressively in the long final stretch to take the day's laurels ahead of Elia Viviani. The Italian made the best of his consistency over the first three days of the race to take the yellow jersey away from Bouhanni. The Cannondale sprinter also picked the green and white jersey on a perfect day in which only stage victory eluded him.
Bouhanni sild and hit the canvas after 156 kms of a long trek against headwind on the roads to Auvergne and was taken to hospital with lip and hand injuries.  

Three men in the lead

Latvia's Gatis Smukulis (KAT), Belgium's Kris Boeckmans (VCD) and Dane Mads Christensen (TST) broke clear from the first kilometre. Sixteen kilometres later, Boeckmans won the first intermediate sprint in Les Choux (Km 15.5) but waited for the peloton, leaving his two companions to continue their effort without him. The pair did not try too hard either against headwind and were finally reined in at kilometer 43.  

And then there were four

At kilometre 64, two Vacansoleil riders, Thomas de Gendt and Romain Feillu, attacked. They were rapidly joined by Maxime Bouet (ALT) and Mikel Astarloza (EUS). Their lead stabilised around four minutes. Overall, because of the wind, the average speed was extremely slow, especially in the second hour, raced at 26 kph. With some 80 kms left in the stage, as rain started falling, the pace went up a gear

Hail and crashes

Rain and even hail fell briefly on the peloton with serious consequences as two crashes took place, involving notably three BMC riders - Moinard, Frank and Bookwalter -, two Sky riders - Siutsov then Boswell - and two Europcar riders - prologue winner Damien Gaudin and Alexandre Pichot, who was forced out of the race. Nacer Bouhanni's lead-out man Geoffrey Soupe was also held back. The gap with 60 kms to go went down to the minute.

Bouhanni out

But the most tragic accident took place at kilometer 143 when Paris-Nice leader Bouhanni slid and crashed, hitting the canvas heavily. The French champion, blood pouring from his face, was forced out of the race and evacuated with lip and hand injuries. The tempo raised again after the crash and the four-man break finally called it a day at kilometer 156.

Stage set for Kittel

The stage was then set for a sprint finish without Bouhanni and the first passage on the line in Cerilly saw Viviani outpace Sylvain Chavanel and Ruben Perez Moreno (EUS). Omega Pharma Quick Step toughened the tempo in the final loop but could not prevent a mass sprint to take place. Argos Shimano, Lampre and Cannondale tried in turn to take the upper hand and FDJ's William Bonnet and Geoffrey Soupe also attempted to avenge Bouhanni's loss. But there was no real opposition when Kittel made his move to win easily ahead of Viviani and Australia's Leigh Howard (OGE)

Stage 2 Vimory / Vimory

All about the stage key moments

Jersey wearers after the stage 7

Classifications after the stage 7

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