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by Matt de Neef
March 5, 2018
In today’s edition of the CT Daily News Digest: Arnaud Demare takes stage 1 of Paris-Nice; Tiesj Benoot solos to Strade Bianche win; Anna van der Breggen takes solo win at Strade Bianche; Matej Mohoric wins GP Industria & Artigianato; Remi Cavagna leads QuickStep Floors 1-2 at Dwars door West-Vlaanderen; Chloe Dygert smashes individual pursuit world record and takes rainbows; Richie Porte to miss Tirreno-Adriatico due to illness; Tejay Van Garderen out of Paris-Nice after team-car collision; Lucy Kennedy impresses in first European classic; UCI official suffers serious head injury at Track World Championships; Wout van Aert’s double-leg cramp.
Just as he did 12 months ago, French champion Arnaud Demare (Groupama-FDJ) has won the opening stage of Paris-Nice and will wear the first yellow jersey of the week-long race.
After a tough and technical final 5km, which ended with an uphill cobbled section into Meudon, Demare emerged the strongest at the head of a small group. It was close though — it took a photo to split Demare from second-placed Gorka Izagirre (Bahrain-Merida) and third-placed Christophe Laporte (Cofidis), with Tim Wellens (Lotto-Soudal) just behind in fourth.
“This is the first photo-finish in my career. It had never happened before so it was a real explosion of joy when I was told,” Démare said. “I was convinced I was second. When I threw my bike towards the line, it was more out of despair. I was certain I had lost it. In the end you are not totally lucid.
“It’s also my first win on top of a bump like this. It hurt a lot but I kept solid in my head in front of my fan club and my family.”
Earlier in the stage Jurgen Roelandts (BMC), Pierre-Luc Perichon (Fortuneo) and Pierre Rolland (Education First-Drapac) led the race’s first breakaway, building a lead of 3:35 in wet conditions. The break was caught, Alexis Vuillermoz (Ag2r-LaMondiale) put in a late surge but then the Frenchman was caught inside the final kilometre.