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by Mark Zalewski
March 10, 2017
In today’s CyclingTips Daily News Digest: André Greipel powers to spring win at Paris-Nice; Geraint Thomas solos to win on second stage of Tirreno-Adriatico; Australia dominates Oceania Championship time trials; Former colleague defends Wiggins doctor Freeman: ‘I feel like he’s been strung up’; Amgen Tour of California men’s, women’s teams announced; Nicolas Roche says he would not back Brailsford either; Kluge, Ewan both out of Tirreno-Adriatico; Unable to find a new team, Alessandro Vanotti retires; Boonen: I will truly miss the team time trial; Alabama Cycling Classic to feature live streams; NASCAR racing champions choose cycling for fitness; 2017 Paris-Nice: Stage 5 highlights; 2017 Tirreno-Adriatico: Stage 2 highlights; 2017 UCI Women’s WorldTour: Focus on Kasia Niewiadoma.
Geraint Thomas took Team Sky’s lemons from the stage one TTT and made lemonade on stage two, going solo in the final five kilometres on the tough uphill finish for the win, with Tom Dumoulin (Sunweb) trying to counter in the final holding on for second and Peter Sagan (BORA-hansgrohe) winning the group sprint for third. Race leader Damiano Caruso passed the jersey to teammate Greg Van Avermaet.
The lengthy 229km stage was made tougher with a rolling parcours that sapped the legs and had an uphill finish. BMC did a lot of work on the day for leader Damiano Caruso and their other GC hopes. The breakaway was caught with 27km to go on the final categorised climb. Team Sky was ever-present on the front, clearly trying to make up for yesterday’s TTT — and with GC hopes shelved, stage wins their focus.
Iuri Filosi (Nippo – Vini Fantini) countered with a solo move and Team Sky was ready, with Gianni Moscon bridging. Diego Rosa also jumped across and this began the selection as riders began to pop out the back of the peloton. BMC did not panic, riding a steady tempo on the front with Caruso just behind. Daniel Oss increased the pace to try to discourage any other opportunists from attacking. Still Sky prodded with Moscon going again, joined by Hideto Nakane (Nippo – Vini Fantini).
FDJ took over the pacemaking and brought the group together at the top of the KOM with 22km to go. Over the top a lot of the GC favourites were present with a fast, technical descent and many motivated riders. This caused splits with the likes of Sky’s Michal Kwiatkowski pushing the pace. By the bottom the peloton was single file with many gaps.
On the climb to the finish Quick Step Floors upped the pace, initially dropping riders like world champ Peter Sagan. Bob Jungels attacked at 5.3km to go and was joined by a group of strong riders, including the race leader. This move was countered by Geraint Thomas and the three riders joined — but Thomas increased the speed, and since he was not a GC threat was left to go solo as the others seemed more concerned about the GC battle to come.