Movistar Team's two main references for Paris-Nice overall end up 4th, 5th in Conflans prologue, ahead of many GC favourites
Movistar Team started the 2016 Paris-Nice on a high today. Directed by José Luis Arrieta and José Luis Laguía, they took the early lead in the teams’ classification thanks to Jesús Herrada and the Izagirre brothers, Ion and Gorka, all of whom made the top-20 in the 6.1km individual time trial around Conflans-Saint-Honorine, north-east of Paris.
The route featured a number of long straights but also a short, sharp 14% slope after just 2km, which broke the rhythm of many of the GC contenders but favoured the Movistar Team leaders. Herrada, provisional leader for nearly an hour, finished in 4th spot, 6” adrift of the surprise winner, Michael Matthews (OGE), who pipped Tom Dumoulin (TGA) on the line. Meanwhile, Ion Izagirre took 5th place in the same time as Jesús: the two runners-up from Haut Var and the Algarve proved today that they’re up for a fight in the Race to the Sun.
Gorka Izagirre, 16th at 14”, and Rubén Fernández, also within twenty seconds of the day’s winner, remain in the mix ahead of a week full of interesting stages for the team. For the time being, Day Two of racing on Monday includes four gravel sections in the final circuit around Vendôme. The short, sharp ‘wall’ of Tertre de la Motte, just 4km away from the finish, could complicate the expected sprint finish.