Monday March 10th, 2014

Stage 2Rambouillet / Saint-Georges-sur-Baulche

Start 11h00 (Local time)

Key moments

Stage summary10.03.2014 in 16:30Hofland surprises even himself

© A.S.O.

The stage was set for a remake of Sunday's final showdown between Nacer Bouhanni and John Degenkolb at the finish of the long second stage in St Georges-sur-Baulche, but victory went to a third man, Moreno Hofland, who stole the show for his greatest victory to date.

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interview10.03.2014 in 17:14Moreno Hofland - A little surprise

Moreno Hofland (BEL) surprised pre-stage favorites John Degenkolb (GIA) and Nacer Bouhanni (FDJ) but also admitted he had surprised himself by winning stage 2.

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interview10.03.2014 in 17:12Nacer Bouhanni - My knee was not a problem

 "I had a slight fear thinking back on my crash last year with the yell jersey on. But it was a nice day and everything went right. In the first 100 kilometers, I felt pain in my knee but then it went off as the ride went on. In the end I was not thinking about it anymore. In any case, it was not a problem from my sprint. I was only a little short on strength in the last 200 metros to be able to battle it out with Degenkolb and Hofland. Maybe I should have moved a little earlier to be in...

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Sporting stakes09.03.2014 in 17:06Bouhanni must beware of the jinx

Nacer Bouhanni's record in Paris-Nice is such a mixture of joy and pain that he will be keen to break the jinx which saw him out of the race a year ago after only a day in the yellow jersey. The FDJ sprinter crashed and broke teeth in the previous edition and he will undoubtedly be closely watched and looked after by his team-mates in today's long 205-kms ride from Rambouillet to St Georges-sur-Baulche near Auxerre in Burgundy. Hopefully, his ailing knee will have fully recovered when and if...

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16:01Bouhanni retains yellow jersey

Top five overall standings after the second stage:

1. Nacer Bouhanni (FDJ)

2. John Degenkolb (GIA)

3. Moreno Hofland (BEL)

4. Geraint Thomas (SKY)

5. Bryan Coquard (EUC)

15:59Top 5 placings

Top five placings in the 205-km second stage of Paris-Nice between Rambouillet and St Georges-sur-Baulche

1. Moreno Hofland (Netherlands, BEL)

2. John Degenkolb (Germany, GIA)

3. Nacer Bouhanni (France, FDJ)

4. Alexander Kristoff (Norway, KAT)

5. Thor Hushovd (Norway, BMC)

15:54Hofland wins the 2nd stage

Moreno Hofland (BEL) wins the 205-km second stage of Paris-Nice. John Degenkolb (GIA) was second and NAcer Bouhanni (FDJ) was third.

15:52Under the red flame

... with Giant Shimano still leading the way for John Degenkolb.

15:512 kms to go...

... and the sprint is taking shape with Giant Shimano leading the way. Meersman has not yet made it back into the pack.

15:49Saramotins caught

Aleksejs Saramotins (IAM) has been caught by the chasing bunch with four kilometres to go.

15:475 kms to go...

... and Saramotins effort is about to be reined in.

15:46Only 10 seconds left for Saramotins

Less than 10 kms to go and Saramotins has only 10 seconds left on the main pack, in which Simon Gerrans (OGE) is working very hard.

15:42Meersman involved in crash

A collective crash took place at the back, involving green jersey holder Gianni Meersman (OPQ), Edvald Boasson-Hagen (SKY), Lars Boom (BEL) and Tyler Farrar (GRS). 

15:38Saramotins on his own

12 kms to go and Saramotins dropped Delaplace and went away on his own.

15:37Orica Greenedge leading the chase

Orica Greenedge are now joining in the the chase, working for house sprinter Matt Goss.

15:3315 kms to go...

... and Anthony Delaplace (BSE) and Aleksejs Saramotins (IAM) lead the chasing peloton by 2:00.

15:32Meersman ahead of Bouhanni

By collecting a second in the last intermediate sprint, Belgium's Gianni Meersman (OPQ) now leads yellow jersey holder Nacer Bouhanni (FDJ) by one second in the overall standings.

15:31Result of the second intermediate sprint

Result of the second intermediate sprint in St Georges-sur-Baulche (km 186.5):
1. Aleksandrejs Saramotins (IAM) 3 seconds, 3 points
2. Anthony Delaplace (BSE) 2 seconds, 2 points
3. Gianni Meersman (OPQ) 1 second, 1 points

15:2520 kms to go...

... an Delaplace and Saramotins now lead the peloton by three minutes.

15:22Giant Shimano also in the chase

Less than 25 kilometres to go and John Degenkolb's Giant Shimano team-mates are now joining forces with and Omega Pharma Quick Step at the front of the bunch. 

15:14Andy Schleck dropped

Luxembourg's Andy Schleck (TFR), who already lost nearly two minutes in the first stage, has now been dropped by the peloton.

15:1330 kms to go...

... and the lead of Delaplace and Saramotins is trimmed down to 4:00.

15:09Peloton raises tempo

Omega Pharma Quick Step are increasing the pace at the front of the peloton and the pack is stretched along the road as the gap goes down to 4:15.

15:01Laborie increases polka-dot lead

Third at the top of the only climb of the day, Christophe Laborie increased his lead in the mountain classification and will keep his polka-dot jersey for one more day at least. Tomorrow's third stage only includes one third category climb.

15:00Results in Cote de la Ferte Loupiere

Results in the 3rd category Cote de la Ferte Loupiere (km 160.5)
1. Aleksandrejs Saramotins (IAM) 4 points
2. Anthony Delaplace (BSE)  2 points
3. Christophe Laborie (BSE) 1 pt 4:55 behind.

14:54The two in the climb

 Aleksejs Saramotins (IAM) is first at the top of the only climb of the day, Cote de la Ferte Loupiere (3rd cat) ahead of Anthony Dalaplace.

14:26A land of sprinters

St Georges-sur-Baulche is a suburb of Auxerre, which hosted seven Paris-Nice stages in the past crowning some of the sport's greatest finishers in Freddy Maertens (1977) and Jan Raas (1980), who both won with the rainbow jersey on their back.

14:16Ideal temperature

It is just under 20 degrees C on the race. An ideal temperature for a bike race.

14:15Gap going down

Km 127 - The peloton raised the tempo and the gap behind escapees Anthony Delaplace (BSE) and Aleksejs Saramotins (IAM) is down to 5:55.

14:01Average speed

The average speed in the third hour of the stage was 38.9 kph for an overall speed of 40.8 kph.

13:57Omega Pharma Quick Step lead the bunch

The Omega Pharma Quick Step of Gianni Meersman and Tom Boonen are leading the peloton chase, 8:30 behind escapees Anthony Delaplace (BSE) and Aleksejs Saramotins (IAM) (km 113).

13:43Seigneur - A lost cause

IAM team director Eddy Seigneur admitted Aleksejs Saramotins and his breakaway companion Anthony Delaplace seldom had a chance to go all the way.
"We had hoped for a break at five or six men. With only two of them, this is a lost cause," he told
"Now were in it, so we show ourselves. Everything's alright, they take turns well. But our real goal is further down the race with the GC and Sylvain Chavanel."

13:30Gap unchanged

Km 96 - The lead of the two escapees, Delaplace (BSE) and Saramotins (IAM) has remained unchanged for the past 20 kms at 7:40.

13:18Happy birthday Luke Rowe

Happy birthday to Luke Rowe (SKY), who is celebrating his 24th birthday on the road between Rambouillet and St Georges-sur-Saulche.

13:08Tail wind

The peloton is pushed by a solid tail wind, which can account for the reasonably high speed so far.

13:01Average speed

The average speed in the second hours of the stage was 39.6 kph. The overall average speed since the start was 41.3 kph.

12:56Gap keeps going down

Km 73 - The gap between Delaplace (BSE), Saramotins (IAM) and the peloton dropped to 8:20.

12:48Stable gap

Km 68 - The gap between Delpalace, Saramotins and the peloton remains stable at 9:05.

12:39Meersman level with Bouhanni

Thanks to the one-second bonus bagged in the intermediate sprint, Belgium's Gianni Meersman (OPQ) is now level on time with Nacer Bouhanni (FDJ) in the GC.

12:38Result of the first sprint

Result of the first intermediate sprint in Malesherbes (km 61.5):
1. Anthony Delaplace (BSE) 3 points, 3 seconds
2. Aleksejs Saramotins (IAM) 2 points, 2 seconds
3. Gianni Meersman (OPQ) 1 point, 1 second 9:05 behind.

12:37Saramotins back in the lead

Aleksejs Saramotins (IAM) is back with Anthony Delaplace (BSE) in the front after his puncture.

12:34Saramotins punctures

Latvia's Aleksejs Saramotins (IAM) just punctured in the break.

12:27Emmanuel Hubert (BSE) - To keep the bunch at bay

Bretagne Seche team director Emmanuel Hubert told the escapees were trying to hold a steady tempo to keep the peloton at bay without speeding too much: "The aim is to maintain a steady pace but not go too fast or the sprinters teams will get angry. If they keep chasing at the pace they are now, it won't go far. The idea is never to show the jersey, when you have someone in the break, you want it to go all the way. But it's not ideal with only two riders. We'll see how it goes,"...

12:11Delaplace profile

Anthony Delaplace, 24, was French junior champion in 2007. He won a stage on the Tour de l'Avenir in 2010 and Polynormande in 2011.

12:08Gap goes down

Km 40 - The lead of Delaplace (BSE) and Saramotins (IAM) goes down a bit: 10:30.

12:04Lionel Marie (GIA): John was forced to brake

Giant Shimano team director Lionel Marie told that Germany's John Degenkolb, second in yesterday's first stage, had been forced to brake in the finale, eventually losing to France's Nacer Bouhanni.
"The preparation of the sprint went alright but in the last 300 metres, there was a little elbowing between Bouhanni and Degenkolb, who was forced to brake and lost a little bit of speed. From then it was impossible for him to make up for lost ground. He was a little...

11:59Average speed

The average speed after one hour in the stage was 43 kph.

11:58Lead reaches 11:30

Km 31.5 - The lead of escapees Anthony Delaplace (BSE) and Aleksejs Saramotins (IAM) eached 11:30.

11:55The peloton in Etampes

The peloton is nearing Etampes (Km 33.5), start of the last stage of the 2008 Tour de France. That stage was won by Belgium's Gert Steegmans and Carlos Sastre was crowned on the Champs-Elysees. Tony Gallopin made his cycling debut with the local club, VC Etampes.

11:46In the press today

In l'Equipe, AG2R team director Vincent Lavenu explained that he rode Romain Bardet's second bike himself to speed the process when the Frenchman found himself blocked by a crash in yesterday's stage.
"As soon as I head that Romain had stopped, I got out of the car and rode his second bike to hand it over to him as quickly as possible. Otherwise he would have lost more than two minutes," he told l'Equipe.
Bardet finally lost 1:09 on the line.

11:45Saramotins profile

At 31, Aleksejs Saramotins is a solid, experienced rider who won the Latvian national title six times and is his country's current champion. Among his other victories, the GP d'Isbergues in 2010 and the Tour du Doubs last season.

11:41FDJ lead the chase

Nacer Bouhanni's FDJ team-mates have seized the reins of the peloton, who is now 10:40 behind the two escapees, Dalaplace and Saramotins.

11:36Gap up to 9:15

Km 19 - Delaplace (BSE) and Saramotins (IAM) now lead the pack by 9:15.

11:35Quotes at the start

While the first stage trapped a few of the pre-race favorites after a series of crashes, riders at the start in Rambouillet reassessed their positions before a long 205-kms stage to St Georges-sur-Baulche. Thomas Voeckler was one of the riders halted by a pile-up and the Europcar  team leader said he would work for a stage victory by the French outfit's best sprinter: "We'll do our best so that it's Bryan Coquard's turn to win," he said.
AG2R's Romain Bardet, also involved in the main...

11:22Latest gap

Km 11 - Gap increases and Delaplace (BSE) and Saramotins (IAM) now lead the main pack by 5:40.

11:20Pineau at home

While Team will reach St Georges-sur-Baulche with the yellow jersey on the back of Nacer Bouhanni, it will also be a special finish for his team-mate Cedric Pineau, who lives in this suburb of Auxerre. 

11:17Gap increases

Km 10 - Delaplace (BSE) and Saramotins (IAM) now lead the peloton by 4:35.

11:13The two lead by 3:05

Km 8 - Saramotins and Delaplace lead the peloton by 3:05.

11:11Two men in front

Latvia's Aleksejs Saramotins (IAM) and France's Anthony Delaplace (BSE) broke clear after 2.5 kms.

11:09Start given

The start was given at 11:00 from Rambouillet in glorious sunshine.

11:0127 riders warned at the start

Twenty seven riders were warned at the start for failing to come to the podium in Rambouillet to sign the start list, race director Thierry Gouvenou said. He added that a second offence would lead to their exclusion. 

10:50Bricaud - Nacer's ambition is to raise his arms again's team director Thierry Bricaud made it clear that Nacer Bouhanni's ambition today was to raise his arms in victory again on the finish line.
"Of course his knee is bruised like is the case after a big crash. It will probably be stiff during the first hour and then it should be alright. The ambition remains the same – to raise the arms on the finish line. The legs will decide, or rather the knee will, but the morale is high," he told

10:49Jersey holders

Thanks to his victory in the 1st stage around Mantes-la-Jolie, France's Nacer Bouhanni holds the yellow, green and white jerseys. The only one eluding him is the polka-dot garment, on the back of fellow-Frenchman Christophe Laborie thanks to his long solo in Sunday's stage.
Still Bouhanni's lead hangs by a thread as Gianni Meersman lies only one second behind him overall and showed great form and presence in yesterday's intermediate sprints. Germany's John Degenkolb is third, four...

10:44Climb of the day

Km 160.5 - Cote de la Ferte Loupiere (3rd cat)

10:43Sprints of the day

Km 61.5 - Malesherbes
Km 186.5 - St Georges-sur-Baulche

10:34Welcome on the second stage

Welcome to the 205-kms second stage of Paris-Nice between Rambouillet and St Georges-de-Baulche. Stay tuned to www.letour. fr


Jersey wearers after the stage 8

Classifications after the stage 8


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