2011 Paris – Nice – Stages 1 and 2

Greg Henderson has won another stage for Team Sky to add to their early season successes. In a classic all-out sprint to the line the New Zealander narrowly beat a hard charging Aussie Matthew Goss and Russian Denis Galimzyanov.

Today’s second stage of the Paris-Nice was a crash filled affair with both Levi Leipheimer (Radioshack) and Frank Schleck (Leopard) hitting the ground. As the group approached Amilly, the finishing village in central France, the Peloton seemed somewhat complacent to string the group out. As everyone rode nearly the entire final 20kms in a big clump spread across the entire road, the race really launched into high gear in the final 3kms when HTC moved to the front and hammered. Then, in a completely unexpected move Thomas de Gendt attacked the field up the other side of the road with 1.3km’s to go and really ticked out HTC who were doing all the pace-setting at that time, throwing the sprint entry into a little chaos.

It all came back into order in the next 500m and the big names sprinted for the win Haussler and Sagan rounding out the top five. Thomas De Gendt still holds the leaders’ yellow jersey by 4 seconds over Henderson and 7 seconds over Jeremy Roy.

Paris – Nice Stage 2 Top Five
1. Greg Henderson (Sky)_______5’00’56
2. Matthew Goss (HTC)________s.t.
3. Denis Galimzyanov (Katusha)__s.t.
4. Heinrich Haussler (Garmin)___s.t.
5. Peter Sagan (Liquigas)______s.t.

On Sunday, the Paris-Nice kicked off starting the first of the short stage races in Europe. The race to the sun is one of the first main objectives of the Pro-Tour teams and as a result, the field is usually rich with competition.

The first stage of the Paris-Nice was claimed by a successful break away by VacanSoleil’s Thomas De Gendt with the peloton bearing down on him hard. De Gendt took the early first jersey and will hope to hang on to it for as long as possible, trying to stay at the front of the group out of trouble.

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