Bad Luck Strikes van Garderen on Paris-Nice Stage 14. March 2018, Meuden (FRA) — Road Team
It was a days of highs and lows on stage 1 of Paris-Nice with Tejay van Garderen crashing out, Jürgen Roelandts in the day’s breakaway, and Dylan Teuns active in the final.
Roelandts was joined by Pierre Rolland (EF Education First-Drapac) and Pierre-Luc Perichon (Fortuneo-Samsic) in the breakaway in the opening ten minutes of racing.
The peloton allowed the trio to gain an advantage of 3’30” as they reached the 100km to go mark and soon after, Roelandts claimed the maximum bonus points at the first intermediate sprint.
At the half way mark, the peloton had started to bring the breakaway back and with 50km to go, the advantage dropped below the one-minute mark for the first time but the trio worked hard to bring it back to 1’45” before Roelandts claimed the second intermediate sprint.
A crash with 35km to go brought van Garderen and a handful of other riders down. Van Garderen was taken to hospital for observation and a medical update will be provided when more information is available.
As the race continued, the peloton continued to up the pace and bring the breakaway back before eventually taking the catch with 14km to, setting the stage for a tricky uphill battle to the line.
As the reduced peloton hit the 5km to go mark, the group was strung out and Teuns was well positioned at the front of the bunch as they prepared to battle it out on the 1.9km, 5,4% gradient run in to the finish.
Despite a crash that brought down 10 riders, there were multiple attacks in the final kilometer and eventually four riders crossed the line in a photo finish which saw Arnaud Démare (Groupama-FDJ) take the win.
Teuns followed closely behind in eighth place, two seconds behind Démare.
Quotes from the Finish Line
“It wasn’t really the plan to go in the breakaway today but I felt good in the neutral and I think there’s always a better chance that a breakaway stays away in a rainy stage. I thought it would be more technical in the end but it was quite big roads, so I knew the peloton would bring us back. They kept us close and if there was a lot of twisting and turning, there would have been a better chance. With three guys and these big roads, we took it easy in the last 30km after the last sprint. I think tomorrow is another opportunity and then we see for the res of the week. It is sad to lose Tejay and I think we will have to set some new goals. I would like to go for a sprint tomorrow and then we will see for later on.”
“I felt good from the beginning of the stage which gives me confidence after two weeks with no races. Then in the final part I was a little bit messed up because I couldn’t take Jempy’s wheel because of a crash. I was still in a good position on the climb but I knew that the best part for me to make a move was also a hard part because it was still 800m to go and with the head wind and cobbles, it was difficult. I tried to do my best but against a guy like Arnaud Demare, I’m not fast enough. The finish was not steep enough for me. I think stage 5 will also be a good stage for me but now I am well positioned in the GC so we will see how it goes. I gained some confidence after the time trial at Volta ao Algarve so until then, we will see how things play out.”
“We are here at the hospital in Versailles with Tejay van Garderen. He is currently being treated and observed to determine the nature of his injuries. Fortunately, he is fully conscious. We will know more soon about his condition.”
Stage 1 Chatou > Meudon (134.5km)
Top 3: 1. Arnaud Démare (Groupama-FDJ), 2. Gorka Izaguirre (Bahrain Merida), 3. Christophe Laporte (Cofidis).
BMC Racing Team top 3: 8. Dylan Teuns, 39. Alessandro De Marchi, 87. Simon Gerrans.