11 March, 2019

Paris-nice starts with crazy windy stage 1

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The 77th edition of the Paris-Nice has started today with a very chaotic and stressful stage 1 in Saint-Germain-en-Laye (138.5 km). The day was characterized by the stormy wind, which provoked the formation of the echelons inside the final 50 km of the race. Within the last 40 km it was a real battle for position in the leading group with many teams trying to profit from the strong crosswind, reports the press service of the club.

Astana Pro Team was presented in the leading group by 5 riders, Hugo Houle, Magnus Cort, Luis Leon Sanchez, Gorka Izagirre and Miguel Angel Lopez with two more riders, Ion Izagirre and Laurens De Vreese trying to come back in the next chasing group.

- We knew very well about the weather and the wind conditions at this stage, so we were prepared. We had almost the whole team in the main group. But, unfortunately, in a super strong crosswind we lost Ion and Miguel Angel in the last few kilometers. It was a very chaotic final, so it was really hard to control everything. Anyway, the team did a good stage today, we gave our best to stay in front. But, it was just the first stage here at the Paris-Nice and two more very difficult and windy stages are still to come. Everything could happens in this race, - said Dmitriy Fofonov, sports manager of Astana Pro Team.

In the end of the day, the first stage finished with a sprint from the leading group, won by Dylan Groenewegen. Astana’s Luis Leon Sanchez finished 18th. Sanchez was very active in the final part of the stage, taking 5 bonus seconds at the intermediate sprints. Thus, thanks to these seconds, the Astana rider moved up to the third position in the general classification of the Paris-Nice.

- It was a crazy stage, but it happens at the Paris-Nice. Indeed, it was a difficult day, but, honestly, I liked it. I felt well and as a team we did a good job. It was not easy to control the race, but at the intermediate sprints I tried to take some seconds not to allow our rivals to take it. Stage 1 is done, let’s see what will happen tomorrow, - said Luis Leon Sanchez.

The second stage of the race will be held tomorrow: 163.5 km from Les Bréviaires to Bellegarde.

Photo credit: © Getty Images

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