Giacomo Nizzolo wins Stage 2 Sprint as Brutal Racing Conditions Start to take their Toll

Stage 2 of the ‘Race to the Sun’ showed little sign of living up to its name, with riders facing more wet conditions, fierce cross winds and damp roads as the route headed south on a gently undulating 166.5km parcours

A duo attacked from the start, building a lead of 2:35, before the peloton upped the pace and started reeling them in.

With the dual responsibility of protecting race leader, Maximilian Schachmann and setting the pace for the predicted sprint, BORA-hansgrohe were controlling the race from the start. Making the catch with 55km still to go, there was plenty of time for drama, and with the wind picking up, echelons formed on the road and BORA-hansgrohe split the peloton with a coordinated effort.

No fewer than six BORA-hansgrohe riders were in the lead group, holding a slim advantage as the race dipped below 10km to go. As the finish line loomed on the horizon, four of the team remained in this group, race leader Maximilian Schachmann joined by Peter Sagan, Pascal Ackermann and Felix Grossschartner to form a strong team presence on the front.

Led out by Maximilian, Pascal and finally, Peter, Pascal pushed hard on a long sprint and was only narrowly beaten to the line by Giacomo Nizzolo, taking second after a hard effort from a long way out, ahead of Jasper Stuyven.

Crossing the line shortly after, Maximilian Schachmann held onto his yellow leader’s jersey, with a fifteen-second advantage in the GC standings.

Giacomo Nizzolo wins Stage 2 Sprint as Brutal Racing Conditions Start to take their Toll

 Alaphilippe Loses Time

Crosswinds, crashes, mechanicals and big gaps – it was another crazy day of racing at the “Race to the Sun”, one that unfortunately saw Julian Alaphilippe bleed time in the general classification, just twenty-four hours after putting on an aggressive display that cemented his status as one of the race’s favourites.

The incident in cause occurred with 30 kilometers to go, when Julian Alaphilippe punctured and lost contact with the bunch which fragmented to pieces at that very moment, due to the strong crosswinds that then accompanied the riders until the finish. The Wolfpack rallied around the green jersey wearer, the likes of Kasper Asgreen, Sam Bennett, Yves Lampaert and Michael Mørkøv trading long turns in that echelon. A mad pursuit ensued and our riders emptied themselves in order to reduce the gap to the front group, from where Giacomo Nizzolo (NTT Pro Cycling) sprinted to victory.

This cohesive all-out effort thrown in by the Deceuninck – Quick-Step boys meant that Alaphilippe lost just 1:25 by the time he came over the finish line in Chalette-sur-Loing, and although he is out of the top 10 overall, with five stages to go (including an ITT and two days in the mountains) he still holds an important chance of edging his way back in the general classification.

Barguil Disqualified

Warren Barguil says he accepts the decision to disqualify him from Paris-Nice after he drafted behind his team car following a crash during stage one. The Frenchman says the period of drafting took place straight after the crash when his team were deciding whether he was able to continue the race and that he wasn’t trying to break the rules.

“I will never be put down! I accept the decision of the commissaires to disqualify me from Paris-Nice, even if it undermines all my preparation for the start of the season. I didn’t want to do wrong, nor did my sports director. I was just groggy after my fall and taking shelter behind the car was just a floating time between giving up or continuing the race,” Barguil said.

VIDEO: 2020 Paris-Nice Stage 2 Highlights

2020 Paris-Nice Stage 2 Top 10

1 Giacomo Nizzolo (Ita) NTT Pro Cycling 3:49:57
2 Pascal Ackermann (Ger) Bora-Hansgrohe
3 Jasper Stuyven (Bel) Trek-Segafredo
4 Nils Politt (Ger) Israel Start-Up Nation
5 Sergio Andres Higuita Garcia (Col) EF Pro Cycling
6 Mads Schmidt Würtz (Den) Israel Start-Up Nation
7 Vincenzo Nibali (Ita) Trek-Segafredo 0:00:03
8 Maximilian Schachmann (Ger) Bora-Hansgrohe
9 Felix Grossschartner (Aut) Bora-Hansgrohe
10 Krists Neilands (Lat) Israel Start-Up Nation

2020 Paris-Nice GC after Stage 2

1 Maximilian Schachmann (Ger) Bora-Hansgrohe 7:22:06
2 Giacomo Nizzolo (Ita) NTT Pro Cycling 0:00:15
3 Jasper Stuyven (Bel) Trek-Segafredo 0:00:21
4 Sergio Andres Higuita Garcia (Col) EF Pro Cycling 0:00:23
5 Nils Politt (Ger) Israel Start-Up Nation 0:00:25
6 Mads Schmidt Würtz (Den) Israel Start-Up Nation
7  Felix Grossschartner (Aut) Bora-Hansgrohe 0:00:28
8 Krists Neilands (Lat) Israel Start-Up Nation
9 Vincenzo Nibali (Ita) Trek-Segafredo
10 Tiesj Benoot (Bel) Team Sunweb 0:00:38

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