Paris-Nice (st. 2)
Gorka Izagirre -now 11th overall- & José Herrada into selected first bunch following second series of echelons in northern France. Colbrelli (TBM) wins stage; Démare (FDJ) remains in yellow
Stage two of Paris-Nice (Rochefort-Amilly, 195km) made all riders suffer again as drizzle, strong winds -mostly favourable, always from one side, except for a strong headwind into Amilly's final circuit- and a bunch with lots of gurdges following Sunday's battle – repaid with an impressive 47kph average over the first three hours of racing.
The Movistar Team tried to follow the early moves with Marc Soler and later managed to get an excellent Gorka Izagirre into the 20-rider echelon leading the way into the first crosswinds. As the Basque allrounder dropped back to a second group including Martin (QST) and Contador (TFS), several teams organised from behind to counter the insistence by Arnaud Démare's FDJ squad to keep the situation alive. In the end, a 70-rider main peloton formed, with José Herrada joining Izagirre.
Gorka now sits 11th overall as the day's sprint rewarded Sonny Colbrelli (TBM), at the end of another stage of pure wear and tear for the whole field. The first little climbs in this year's 'Course to the Sun' will show up Tuesday -Charrecey's (Cat-2) summit is located just 26km away from Chalon-sur-Saône's finish (190km)-, a day before the trascendental Mont Brouilly ITT marks Izagirre's biggest hope to chase a good GC result in France.
Picture ©: A.S.O.