Paris - Nice 2016: Démare sprints to victory in thrilling finale, Matthews retains GC lead

Paris-Nice winner Arnaud DemareAt 195 kilometres, stage 1 in Paris-Nice is mostly flat and the finale offers a few stretches of unpaved roads. Yet, the race boils down to a bunch sprint with Arnaud Démare fastest, besting Ben Swift and Nacer Bouhanni. Michael Matthews retains the overall lead. (Slideshow route/profile)

Results 1st stage Paris-Nice

1. Arnaud Démare (fra)
2. Ben Swift (gbr) s.t.
3. Nacer Bouhanni (fra) s.t.
4. Adrien Petit (fra) s.t.
5. Michael Matthews (aus) s.t.
6. Tom Boonen (bel) s.t.
7. Sep Vanmarcke (bel) s.t.
8. Simon Geschke (ger) s.t.
9. Jonas Van Genechten (bel) s.t.
10. Geraint Thomas (gbr) s.t.

GC after stage 1
1. Michael Matthews (aus)
2. Tom Dumoulin (nld) + 0.03
3. Patrick Bevin (nzl) + 0.04
4. Ion Izagirre (spa) + 0.08
5. Geraint Thomas (gbr) s.t.
6. Lieuwe Westra (nld) + 0.09
7. Dries Devenyns (bel) + 0.10
8. Richie Porte (aus) + 0.12
9. Arnaud Démare (fra)+ 0.14
10. Wilco Kelderman (nld) + 0.15

13. Rafal Majka (pol) + 0.16
14. Tim Wellens (bel) + 0.17
16. Tony Gallopin (fra) + 0.18
17. Alberto Contador (spa) s.t.
19. Ilnur Zakarin (rus) + 0.19
29. Romain Bardet (fra) + 0.27
31. Sergio Henao (col) + 0.28
40. Rui Costa (por) + 0.34

Race report
Once the flag is dropped Thomas de Gendt, Perrig Quemeneur, Thierry Hupond and reigning French champion Steven Tronet are off. The quartet races to a 10 minutes lead in less than an hour. Then the peloton wakes up.

The chasing peloton is split in two when Sky ups the pace with 30 kms left. Most GC guys are in the first group, but Rui Costa, Simon Spilak en Jerome Coppel are not. In no time they are over 1 minute down on the first chasing group.

Shortly after the first stretch of pavé the escapees are reeled in, while at the sector of Chemin du Tertre de la Motte Pierre-Luc Perichon goes solo. At the passage on the line he enjoys a 0’15”, while leader Michael Matthews wins the sprint of the chasing group, thus taking a 2 seconds time bonus. The group of dropped riders hooks up.

With 9 kms to go Perichon is brought back.

Despite attacks the race boils down to a bunch sprint. It looks like Ben Swift is heading for glory, but at the eleventh hour Arnaud Démare outsprints him. Swift second, Bouhanni third.

Paris – Nice 2016 stage 1: Route maps, height profile, and more

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Arnaud Demare


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