Cees Bol wins stage 2 of Paris-Nice.
Hello again, CyclingTips readers, and happy International Women’s Day!
As we get into the new week, Cees Bol sprinted to his first win of the season on a Paris-Nice stage that unfortunately featured more crashes, while Elisa Longo Borghini has announced that she and her Trek-Segafredo teammates have decided to donate prize money from crowdfunding campaigns to women’s cycling initiatives.
Read on for the latest from the world of cycling.
Bol wins stage 2 of Paris-Nice as Matthews takes the race lead
Cees Bol won stage 2 of Paris-Nice on Monday, sprinting to victory in Amilly after a crash-marred final hour of racing. Mads Pedersen took second with Michael Matthews in third. Matthews, who collected bonus seconds at both intermediate sprints on the day, took over the race lead from stage 1 winner Sam Bennett, who finished fifth on stage 2.
A largely flat 188 km stage from Oinville-sur-Montcient had the sprinters’ teams motivated to keep things together for a bunch kick. With around 100 km to go, a high tempo in the pack and high winds led to splits in the pack as well as the reeling in of the day’s main breakaway. Things came back together before long, however, as the race approached the first of two intermediate sprints, where Matthews would cross the line first to nab points and a few bonus seconds.
There were more splits about a half an hour later, but the groups came back together again before the second intermediate sprint with 34 km to go, where André Greipel took the most points and bonus seconds, and where Matthews rolled across the line in second to grab points and time as well. Just after the sprint, there was a crash as the peloton turned onto a narrow road, with George Bennett among those hitting the deck (more on that in a moment). Bennett appeared to stumble after he stood up and took off a cracked helmet. A Jumbo-Visma staffer gave Bennett a new helmet, and after a few seconds talking to race staff, he remounted and then eventually rejoined the pack.
The sprinters’ teams jockeyed for position as the peloton neared the finish line, with DSM leading into the last kilometer, where another crash saw more riders hit the deck.
After the flamme rouge, Trek-Segafredo took over at the head of affairs with Pedersen in second position, but Bol stayed close to the front. Pedersen launched with around 150 meters to go but Bol came past almost immediately and held on to take a clear win at the line, with Pedersen settling for second and with Matthews taking third and the GC lead.
Top 10, stage 2
1 BOL Cees (Team DSM) 4:27:59
2 PEDERSEN Mads (Trek – Segafredo)
3 MATTHEWS Michael (Team BikeExchange)
4 COQUARD Bryan (B&B Hotels p/b KTM)
5 BENNETT Sam (Deceuninck – Quick Step)
6 DEGENKOLB John (Lotto Soudal)
7 ACKERMANN Pascal (BORA – hansgrohe)
8 BAUHAUS Phil (Bahrain – Victorious)
9 PHILIPSEN Jasper (Alpecin-Fenix)
10 BARBIER Rudy (Israel Start-Up Nation)
Top 10, GC
1 MATTHEWS Michael (Team BikeExchange) 8:19:23
2 PEDERSEN Mads (Trek – Segafredo) 0:04
3 BENNETT Sam (Deceuninck – Quick Step)
4 BOL Cees (Team DSM)
5 DÉMARE Arnaud (Groupama – FDJ) 0:08
6 GREIPEL André (Israel Start-Up Nation) 0:11
7 BENOOT Tiesj (Team DSM) 0:12
8 VERMEERSCH Florian (Lotto Soudal)
9 STUYVEN Jasper (Trek – Segafredo) 0:13
10 SWIFT Ben (INEOS Grenadiers)
Bennett’s helmet breaks in Paris-Nice crash
George Bennett crashed some 33 km from the finish of Monday’s second stage of Paris-Nice, breaking his helmet in the process. One of several riders brought down as the peloton turned onto a narrow street lined with bollards, Bennett took few seconds to get up, stumbled, and spent several seconds with his hands on his knees before a Jumbo-Visma team car and race medical staff arrived.
A team staffer gave Bennett a new helmet and Bennett spoke with race staff for a few seconds before he got back on the bike and continued.
“He was OK after the crash – at least he said he was OK. He crashed quite hard and also broke his helmet, but he could continue and, luckily, he could come back to the peloton,” said Jumbo-Visma sport director Grischa Niermann, according to Cyclingnews.
“There was a doctor who was there, but I don’t know if the concussion protocol was followed or not. The race doctor gave the sign that he could continue.”
No broken bones for Porte after Paris-Nice crash
In other news related to crashes at Paris-Nice, after abandoning Paris-Nice on stage 1 following a bad crash, Richie Porte said on Monday that he had not suffered any fractures.
“Nothing broken but I’m out of @parisnicecourse unfortunately,” Porte wrote on Instagram. “Thanks for all the messages. Feeling beat up and sore but can’t thank @ineosgrenadiers enough for getting around me.”
Trek-Segafredo donating crowd-funded prize money to women’s cycling initiatives
After a GoFundMe campaign raised nearly €27,000 to award to the top five finishers of Strade Bianche, Elisa Longo Borghini announced on Monday that prize money from crowdfunding campaigns that she and Trek-Segafredo her teammates earn “will be set aside and committed to support women’s cycling projects.”
Longo Borghini said that a decision will be made soon on where the money will be spent.
The UCI takes ‘no pleasure’ in requesting riders refrain from hugs
The UCI has published a statement confirming that its COVID-19 protocols include asking riders to refrain from hugs in post-race celebrations, while also saying that it takes “no pleasure” in that request.
The UCI’s hug policy was first publicized last week as part of a seminar presenting updated COVID-19 protocols for 2021. On Monday, the UCI confirmed that updated language for its protocol documentation did include a request that riders not hug.
“Although from a medical point of view the risk of contamination between members of a team bubble remains low, the UCI nevertheless considers it necessary that riders adopt the basic precautionary measures, including respecting a minimum physical distance,” the UCI said in Monday’s statement.
“Demonstrations of joy and congratulation are spontaneous and natural, and are part of the beauty of our sport. It is therefore no pleasure for the UCI to strongly recommend all concerned to refrain from hugging at the finish. However, due to the current pandemic it is essential to temporarily modify certain habits so that we can get back to normal as quickly as possible.”
Amstel Gold Race will take place without crowds
Due to COVID-19 restrictions in the Netherlands, there had been some uncertainty over whether the Amstel Gold Race would take place at all this year, Amstel Gold Race organizers confirmed on Monday that the race will go ahead on an altered course and with no crowds.
Riders will cover several laps of a 17 km circuit in the Dutch one-day, with the women’s race traversing seven laps and then men’s race covering 12 laps of the full circuit before a modified finale. The circuit will feature the Geulhemmerberg, Bemelerberg, and Cauberg climbs, with the men’s final lap skipping the Cauberg.