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The gorilla strikes in Saint-Amand-Montrond: stage victory for André Greipel in Paris-Nice

Added: tuesday 10 March 2015 at 17:53:00
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    The gorilla strikes in Saint-Amand-Montrond: stage victory for André Greipel in Paris-NiceIn today's 2nd stage of Paris-Nice 2015 between the ZooParc de Beauval and Saint-Amand-Montrond we again saw a breakaway, this time with Arnaud Gérard (Bretagne-Séché Environnement), and a peloton which progressed at a relatively slow pace. The solo breakaway was taken back only in the final circuit and the stage ended - as expected - in a bunch sprint. At the start we saw numerous animals at the ZooParc, including gorillas, tonight it was the Gorilla - André Greipel (Lotto-Soudal) - who won the stage in the sprint!

    The summary of the 2nd stage of Paris-Nice 2015 - ZooParc de Beauval (Saint-Aignan) > Saint-Amand-Montrond

    At the start of the stage at the ZooParc de Beauval (Saint-Aignan), there was one minute of silence in honour to the victims of the tragical accident in Argentina (among whom the swimmer Camille Muffat, the boxer Alexis Vastine and the navigator Florence Arthaud), before the riders took off for a 172 kilometers long stage towards Saint-Amand-Montrond.

    Arnaud GérardAfter 1.5 kilometers Arnaud Gérard already showed that the strategy of the Bretagne-Séché Environnement team is to attack as much as they can in this Paris-Nice 2015, just like they did last year.

    While his gap went up to 8'25", Arnaud Gérard took the points at the first intermediate sprint, in Saint-Pierre-de-Jards while Alexander Kristoff (Team Katusha) took the second place and thus the precious points which allow him to get ahead of Michal Kwiatkowski (Etixx-QuickStep) in the points classification. One of his main rivals for this classification, John Degenkolb (Team Giant-Alpecin) took the last point in this sprint.

    All day long, we saw a similar scenario to what happened in yesterday's stage, that it a peloton which continues to keep its forces for the stages to come and even at a speed of 35.5 km/h average over the first 3 hours of the race, Arnaud Gérard kept a quite comfortable gap on the peloton during the whole stage.

    Only after about one hundred kilometers, the peloton really started to take back some time on the rider of the French team, thanks to the efforts of the Cofidis team, for its sprinter Nacer Bouhanni, probably willing to take revenge for his second place in yesterday's sprint and maybe also because he wanted to honour his friend Alexis Vastine.

    At the first crossing of the finish line, where the riders battled for the second intermediate sprint, the gap of the leading rider was down to 45 seconds when Arnaud Gérard again took the 3 points, this time ahead of John Degenkolb and Michael Matthews (Orica-GreenEDGE) who took the last point in this sprint.

    Philippe Gilbert and Jonathan HivertJust after the first crossing of the finish line, the riders climbed the only difficulty of today's stage, the Côte de la Tour and even though Arnaud Gérard still had a 35 seconds gap there, the peloton rapidly came back on him and we saw Philippe Gilbert (BMC Racing Team) attack in order to take the points for the King of the Mountains classification. Jonathan Hivert (Bretagne-Séché Environnement) followed behind him and thus secured his polka dot jersey of this classification in which he's now followed by his team mate Arnaud Gérard.

    Just after this climb, the solo adventure of the Gérard came to an end and the peloton continued as a compact group until 9.5 kilometers from the finish when Tony Martin (Lotto-Soudal), third in the general classification before the start of this stage, launched an attack. The German rider was joined by Geraint Thomas (Team Sky), Lars Boom (Astana) and Matti Breschel (Tinkoff-Saxo). A counter-attack was set up and taken back and in the end, this new breakaway was also taken back, at 1.5 kilometers from the finish line, thanks to the efforts of the Lotto-Soudal team.

    Possibly inspired by the gorillas of the ZooParc de Beauval, the German champion André Greipel of this team, nicknamed the Gorilla, won the stage, ahead of the French Champion Arnaud Démare (FDJ).

    The classifications of Paris-Nice 2015 after the 2nd stage

    Here are the classifications after the second stage between the ZooParc de Beauval (Saint-Aignan) and Saint-Amand-Montrond:

    Stage classification

    André GreipelHere's the top 5 of this stage:

    1/ André Greipel (Lotto-Soudal) - 4h30'18"
    2/ Arnaud Démare (FDJ)
    3/ John Degenkolb (Team Giant-Alpecin)
    4/ Michael Matthews (Orica-GreenEDGE)
    5/ Jose Joaquin Rojas (Movistar Team)

    General classification

    Michal KwiatkowskiIn the general classification, Michal Kwiatkowski (Etixx-QuickStep) keeps the lead, while John Degenkolb climbs up the 3rd place approaching to the first two placed riders at 2 seconds, thanks to the bonus seconds he took in today's stage. Here's the top 5 of the general classification:

    1/ Michal Kwiatkowski (Etixx-QuickStep) - 9h53'16"
    2/ Rohan Dennis (BMC Racing Team)
    3/ John Degenkolb (Team Giant-Alpecin) - +0'02"
    4/ Tony Martin (Etixx-QuickStep) - +0'07"
    5/ Michael Matthews (Orica-GreenEDGE) - +0'09"

    The other classifications

    In the points classification, Alexander Kristoff (Team Katusha) took the lead, as indicated in the summary of the first stage, thanks to the sprints. The Norwegian rider takes the lead with 20 points, followed by John Degenkolb (Team Giant-Alpecin, 18 points) and Nacer Bouhanni (Cofidis, 17 points).

    In the King of the Mountains classification, Jonathan Hivert (Bretagne-Séché Environnement) still keeps the lead, with 5 points, and he's now followed by his team mate Arnaud Gérard (4 points) and Philippe Gilbert (BMC Racing Team, 3 points).

    In the young riders classification, Michal Kwiatkowski (Etixx-QuickStep) logically also keeps the lead, ahead of Rohan Dennis (BMC Racing Team) who will thus still wear the white jersey instead of him.

    Tomorrow's stage

    Tomorrow a stage of 179 kilometers between Saint-Amand-Montrond and Saint-Pourçain-sur-Sioule will take place with three 3rd category climbs in the second half of the stage.

    >> check out all the details of the 3rd stage of Paris-Nice 2015 and the race route on Google Maps

    The photos of the 2nd stage of Paris-Nice 2015

    Numerous photos have been published all day long:

    >> check out the photos of the 2nd stage of Paris-Nice between the ZooParc de Beauval (Saint-Aignan) and Saint-Amand-Montrond

    Video summary of the stage

    by Thomas Vergouwen
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    this article appears in the following categories: Paris-Nice| Paris-Nice 2015 | share on Facebook | delicious | twitter | Google | technorati

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