Down to seven on French soil
Andalusian unable to recover from pain in leg suffered for days, out on stage 2; Matthews (OGE) extends lead, with Ion Izagirre still in polka dot and 4th overall
A controversial finish to stage two of Paris-Nice between Contres and Commentry, at 213.5km, the longest in this year's Race to the Sun. saw Frenchman Nacer Bouhanni (COF) relegated after making illegal manoeuvres which twice blocked race leader Michael Matthews (OGE) during the final uphill sprint.
It wasn't to be this time for Movistar Team's two main fastmen. Designated sprinter Juanjo Lobato was forced to abandon an hour and ten minutes into the stage due to leg pain, while José Joaquín Rojas focused solely on supporting Ion Izagirre, as did Imanol Erviti, and the Herrada brothers Gorka and José. Ion finished the stage 13th, retaining fourth overall and defending his leadership in the KOM classification.
For Ion, as well as for Rubén Fernández, 15th in GC at 31", tomorrow represents an important test, with Mont Brouilly (Cat-2; 3km at 7.7% average), at the end of Day Three's 169 lumpy kilometres which feature five other categorised climbs along the way from the start town, Cusset.