Porte: “Paris-Nice is far from over”5. March 2017, Bois d'Arcy — Road Team
Paris-Nice stage 1 was expected to finish in a bunch sprint but strong winds caused chaos as the peloton split a third of the way through the stage, leaving the majority of the General Classification contenders behind, including Richie Porte.
The front group of 26 riders eventually caught a four-rider breakaway while behind, BMC Racing Team was chasing hard to bring the two groups back together.
Despite help from ORICA-SCOTT and Katusha-Alpecin, the gap remained above one minute with 20km to go. It was in the final 10km that the tough day of racing took its toll and all of the groups split further.
Porte was able to reduce the gap on the run into the finish and eventually crossed the line 47 seconds behind stage winner Arnaud Démare (FDJ), as well as taking time on some of his General Classification rivals behind.
Michael Schär was caught in a crash inside the final 20km and was forced to abandon the race. Schär was taken to hospital for observation and an update on his condition will be provided when possible.
Quotes from the Finish Line
“It was a disaster but not too much of a disaster. We lost time but in the end we took more time back on some of the other favorites. The race is not over. Today wasn’t ideal but my team were fantastic and they really controlled that, but tomorrow’s another day. The split just happened on the cobbles. Once it splits like that and there is such a big group, then it’s hard. It’s not over. There are some strong guys in front but still a lot of racing to go.”
Yvon Ledanois, Sports Director:
“Everyone knows that this was an incredible stage with the wind. Quickstep-Floors went full gas on the cobbles sector. Richie wasn’t in a bad position but as soon as you take ten meters and a team is going full gas in the front, it can open up easily. It’s complicated. But in the end when you see the final gaps on the finish line it’s not too bad. Paris-Nice is one week, not one day. We need to keep the morale up and we will keep going. The good thing is that now the responsibility is on Quickstep-Floors for the next few stages. We can continue as planned knowing that we have a strong team and we are ready for the hard stages to come.”
Bois d’Arcy > Bois d’Arcy (148.3km)
Top 3: 1. Arnaud Demare (FDJ), 2. Julian Alaphilippe (Quickstep-Floors), 3. Alexander Kristoff (Katusha-Alpecin).
BMC Racing Team top 3: 16. Richie Porte, 32. Nicolas Roche, 45. Danilo Wyss