GC duo home safe in Paris-Nice opener

04 Mar 2018

GC duo home safe in Paris-Nice opener

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Team Sky’s general classification contenders emerged from a tricky opening test at Paris-Nice, finishing in a select lead group.

After a soaking wet day in the saddle the first stage came down to a photo finish following a late climb and punishing cobbled sprint in Meudon.
 
Defending champion Sergio Henao and Wout Poels both finished in the lead group, after the peloton was stretched to breaking point following a crash ahead of the Cote de Meudon.
 
Diego Rosa was involved in the pile-up but was able to finish the stage, which was eventually won by Arnaud Demare (Groupama-FDJ) by the smallest of margins.
 
A small split in the group saw Poels and Henao drop two seconds to the first six riders, while David de la Cruz was the next man home for Team Sky, 28 seconds back as more splits opened up.
 
A relatively short blast at 135km, the stage was controlled by the sprinter teams for much of the day, with three riders up the road finally reeled in with 14km to go on the outskirts of Paris. 
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Wout Poels

Wout Poels

With the cold you never know how the legs are, especially with a punchy finish like this.
After the stage Poels described the challenges of a wet, cold day in the saddle.

He told TeamSky.com: "With the cold you never know how the legs are, especially with a punchy finish like this. 

"The feeling was okay so I was happy with that. We lost two seconds but in a sprint like that it's always difficult to be at the front.

"The race was quite stressful - especially with the wet conditions. Everyone feels more awkward, and more keen to be at the front and not to crash. 

"I think the team did well and we're looking good for the next few days."
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Stage one result:

1. Arnaud Demare (Groupama-FDJ) 3:07:39
2. Gorka Izagirre (Bahrain Merida) s.t.
3. Christophe Laporte (Cofidis)
4. Tim Wellens (Lotto Soudal)
5. Mike Teunissen (Team Sunweb)
22. Wout Poels (Team Sky) +2”
28. Sergio Henao (Team Sky) s.t.

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