Chaotic debut in France
09 March 2014

Paris-Nice (st. 1)

Crash into Mantes circuit's finale splits the bunch into two - Rojas 4th at mass sprint behind Bouhanni (FDJ), with Izagirres, Erviti and Jesús Herrada into 1st group

What had been up to then a calm start of the 2014 Paris-Nice, the WorldTour returning after a one-month lapse following Tour Down Under’s opener, took a detour with 29 kilometers from the finish in Mantes-la-Jolie, venue for a semi-urban circuit (five laps, 165km) which opened significant gaps for some of the favourites.

A sudden swerve into the bunch took down around ten riders and splitted the field into two groups: the first one featured the Izagirre brothers as well as Erviti, Jesús Herrada and José Joaquín Rojas from Movistar Team, while the second one saw Gadret, Gutiérrez and Szmyd losing ground to finish more than one minute behind.

Rojas took 4th place into the mass sprint behind Frenchman Nacer Bouhanni (FDJ), and sits now in 7th overall. That GC shouldn’t change much except incidents like today’s or sidewinds expected for Monday and Tuesday, with sprinters expected to have two other chances starting from tomorrow, with 205km and just one rated climb between Rambouillet and Saint-Georges-sur-Baulche.