Paris-Niza (st. 2)
Colombian from Movistar Team -supported by Roelandts, Erviti into Monday’s splits towards Bellegarde’s finish- concedes only 5″ against Bernal, Kwiatkowski (SKY), Luis León Sánchez (AST) after frantic stage.
Despite the start being delayed by ten minutes due to the wind forecast and the route made 2km longer by traffic adjustments, the strong tailwinds and the side gusts leading to new echelons on stage two of the 2019 Paris-Nice had the riders reaching the finish nearly thirty minutes ahead of schedule. It was another day of huge commitment, lots of attacks and yet another good performance by the Movistar Team’s captain for the ‘Course to the Sun’: Nairo Quintana.
The Colombian made no mistakes at the front of the field despite being less than 60kg, joining all the main moves in a frenetic day which saw moves even at the closing circuit around Bellegarde -a 22km ‘triangle’ with a tail / crosswind zone near the end-. Only a furious move from Luke Rowe (SKY), together with team-mates Kwiatkowski and Bernal plus Luis León Sánchez (AST), left Quintana off the front group, ending up 5″ behind an eight-man attack led home by yellow jersey holder Dylan Groenewegen (TJV).
It’s a strong, favourable result early in the race for Nairo, who did incredibly well on two stages not suited at all to his conditions –51.1kph average today– and remains within the top GC contenders: 25″ from Groenewegen, 13″ behind Kwiatkowski, 12″ after Sánchez and 6″ behind Bernal. Tuesday’s stage three will bring yet another flat, longer route -200km towards Moulins / Yzeure-, before the Massif Central makes a brief, relevante appearance on Wednesday.
Cover picture (c): Roberto Bettini / BettiniPhoto.net