German sprinter Marcel Kittel (Argos-Shimano) proved to be strongest on stage two of Paris-Nice, punching clear in the sprint finish after a messy end to a long day in the saddle. 

The 24 year-old ended up winning by a safe margin from Elia Viviani (Cannondale) and Leigh Howard (Orica-GreenEdge) after former race leader and yesterday’s stage winner Nacer Bouhanni (FDJ) crashed out of the race midway through the stage. 

Bouhanni lost control as he rounded a fast but tightening corner behind his teammates, slipping and landing face-first onto the asphalt. The French champion, although not seriously hurt, was unable to continue with the race. 

Viviani got his reward at the end of the day in the form of the leader’s yellow jersey although could struggle to keep hold of it over the lumps and bumps of stage three’s route through the the Massif Central.

The long and windy road

Race organisers ASO seem to have used a ruler and pencil to plan today’s stage, which took riders due South of Paris in a near straight line for just over 200km. A relentless headwind slowed the pace down to the extent that it took the peloton nearly six hours to make it to the finish in Cérilly. 

In fact the four man break of Romain Feillu, Thomas De Gendt (both Vacansoleil-DCM), Maxime Bouet (Ag2r-La Mondiale) and Mikel Astarloza (Euskaltel-Euskadi) found it such tough going that they called time on the efforts with 44km still to race. 

The day’s main drama came on an inocuous-looking corner 56km out from the end. The boxing Bouhanni took a knockout blow as his wheels slipped beneath him as he stuck to his teammate’s wheel and ended his short stint in the Paris-Nice lead in the back of an ambulance.

Tom Boonen (Omega Pharma Quickstep) took the opportunity to warm up for the Classics and do some damage in the 18km finishing circuit, sprinting out of bends like an escaping animal and stringing the bunch out behind. However no one team seemed able to control affairs, despite a number of attempts from the likes of Cannondale, FDJ, Lampre and Argos-Shimano.

Yet after a disappointing opening road stage, where he was left behind with a puncture, Kittel seized his chance and made no mistake.

Results

Paris Nice 2013, stage two: Vimory to Cérilly, 200.5km

1. Marcel Kittel (Ger) Argos-Shimano in 5-42-18


2. Elia Viviani (Ita) Cannondale

3. Leigh Howard (Aus) Orica-GreenEdge

4. Borut Bozic (Slo) Astana

5. Samuel Dumoulin (Fra) Ag2r-La Mondiale

6. Gianni Meersman (Bel) Omega Pharma-QuickStep

7. Romain Feillu (Fra) Vacansoleil-DCM

8. Jens Debusschere (Bel) Lotto-Belisol

9. Jose Joaquin Rojas (Spa) Movistar

10. Tony Gallopin (Fra) Radioshack-Leopard all at same time

Overall classification after stage two

1. Elia Viviani (Ita) Cannondale


2. Sylvain Chavanel (Fra) Omega Pharma-QuickStep at 7 secs

3. Damien Gaudin (Fra) Europcar at 8 secs

4. Lieuwe Westra (Ned) Vacansoleil-DCM at 9 secs

5. Alessandro Petacchi (Ita) Lampre-Merida at 10 secs

6. Wilco Kelderman (Ned) Blanco Pro Cycling

7. Geoffrey Soupe (Fra) FDJ at s.t.

8. Peter Velits (Svk) Omega Pharma-QuickStep at 11 secs

9. Tony Gallopin (Fra) RadioShack-Leopard

10. Borut Bozic (Slo) Astana at s.t.



Nacer Bouhanni crashes out of the race



Thomas De Gendt in the escape



Ian Boswell was one of a number of riders to crash in wet conditions



Marcel Kittel takes the stage win



Elia Viviani in the race lead

Paris-Nice 2013: Race preview and information

Paris-Nice 2013: start list

Paris-Nice 2013: Who will win?

Paris-Nice 2013: The Big Preview

Paris-Nice 2013: Stage reports

Nacer Bouhanni wins stage one and takes lead in Paris-Nice

Prologue: Damien Gaudin takes surprise win

Paris-Nice 2013: Photo galleries

Stage two photo gallery

Stage one photo gallery

Prologue photo gallery

 

  • dai bananas brother

    Absolute pearler of a crash, hope his jaw is still in one piece. Another jaw which is in working order is that of the ‘commentatator’ Dai’s missus says he he must have been having lessons over the winter, ‘Helectrocolution lessons’ she says, that’s the way they talk down by ‘ere. Won’t be watching any more. the ‘Wash’n’Go’ Kid is riding in the other race with his new Belgian mates.