The Paris-Nice 8-day “race to the sun” is going on all week with the 1st stage, 9km, time trial happening yesterday. Erik Larsson won that TT, with Bradley Wiggins finishing in second place. There were some good performances: Leipheimer, Boonen, Porte, VanGarderen, Chavanel. There were some bad performances: Andy Schleck (+1’01” in 147th!), Frank Schleck, Damiano Cunego, Igor Anton. And, there were some unexpected performances: Defending champ Tony Martin +25″, 28th!
Today, on stage two, the peloton was split due to heavy crosswinds and an elite group of 21 got away and built up a lead of over 2 minutes. In Paris-Nice, a two minute gap is the end of your GC aspirations if you’re not in the lead group. Missing the break entirely were Euskaltel, Rabobank, Lampre, Saur-Sojasan, Lotto, Liquigas and Saxo Bank.
Bradley Wiggins took and intermediate sprint point over Alejandro Valverde and moved into yellow and Tom Boonen closed out the win over J.J. Rojas and Degenkolb with the help of his numerous teammates in the break (including Chavanel and Leipheimer). The peloton came in 2’29” seconds down and the GC looks like it will be a battle between Wiggins, Leipheimer and Van Garderen. Alejandro Valverde shouldn’t be counted out only 30seconds back of Wiggins, but he’ll need a time bonus win and a hefty gap to come away with the win.
Stage 2 Top Three
1. Tom Boonen (Omega Pharma-Quickstep)
2. J.J. Rojas (Movistar)
3. John Degenkolb (Project 1T4i)
Overall Classification after 2 stages
1. Bradley Wiggins (Team Sky)_________________4h33’32”
2. Levi Leipheimer (Omega Pharma-Quickstep)___+6″
3. Tom Boonen (Omega Pharma-Quickstep)______+7″
4. Tegay VanGarderen (BMC)__________________+11″
5. Sylvain Chavanel (Omega Pharma-Quickstep)__+14″
11. Alejandro Valverde (Movistar)_______________+30″