Chalette-sur-Loing, Monday, March 9th 2020 – Italy’s Giacomo Nizzolo stole the show from Maximilian Schachmann’s Bora-Hansgrohe team on Monday when he took the second stage of Paris-Nice over 166.5-km after outwitting his rivals on the line. The NTT Pro Cycling rider surged in the wheel of Schachmann’s team-mate Pascal Ackermann in the final stretch to raise his arms in another eventful day on the Race to the Sun, with rain, echelons and crashes which saw pre-race favourites Nairo Quintana (Arkea-Samsic) and Julian Alaphilippe (Deceuninck-Quick-Step) lose 1:25 after crashing and flatting respectively. Helped all day by acting road captain Peter Sagan, Schachmann retained his yellow jersey with a 15 seconds lead over Nizzolo and 21 seconds over Belgium’s Jasper Stuyven (Trek-Segafredo).
Hivert goes for KOM points
The start of the second stage of Paris-Nice was given at 12:32 to 133 riders. KOM leader Jonathan Hivert (Direct Energie) and Jose Manuel Diaz (Nippo Delko Provence) attacked on the gun. They reached the first climb of the day (Cote des Loges, 3rd cat, km 22.5) with a 2:20 lead over the peloton. Hivert collected four more points to strengthen his polka-dot jersey. While Diaz collected three points at the intermediate sprint in Marchais (km 27.5), the two obtained their maximum lead at km 40 (3:10). Hivert grabbed four more points on Cote de Bouville (3rd cat, km 65.5) and on Cote du Pressoir (3rd cat, km 74) to bring his tally to 20 points, with Diaz in second place on six points.
Schachmann picks three seconds
The break ended at kilometre 105 as Hivert relaxed, his main goal achieved. The tempo raised on the junction and a few riders were temporarily dropped, among them Richie Porte (Trek-Segafredo). The bunch regrouped for the Km-116 intermediate sprint in Puiselet, which Maximilian Schachmann, perfectly led out by Peter Sagan, won ahead of Sergio Higuita (EF Pro Cycling) to add three seconds to his overall tally.
With 30 km to go, Team Groupama-FDJ and a few Trek-Segafredo riders, among them world champion Mads Pedersen, raised the pace and echelons took place. Among the riders dropped featured Australia’s Caleb Ewan (Lotto-Soudal), Ireland’s Sam Bennett (Deceucninck-Quick Step) and his leader Julian Alaphilippe, who flatted. Five kilometres further down the road, pre-race favourite N Quintana crashed and managed to get back in the race on the bike of his brother Dayer. In the last 20 km, a group of 35 riders emerged, including Schachmann, Thibaut Pinot, Sergio Higuita, Peter Sagan, Pedersen and Vincenzo Nibali to battle it out for the stage win.
Nizzolo steals the show
Sagan again raised the pace in the last 10 km, taking 11 riders with him: Schachmann, Pedersen, Nibali, Stuyven, Felix Grossschartner, Higuita, Ackermann, Nizzolo, Nils Politt, Krists Neilands and Mads Schmidt (all Israel Startup Nation). The stage looked set for Ackermann to win the sprint with two team-mates of the caliber of Sagan and Schachmann in the group, but Nizzolo played it just right and outwitted the Boras to surge in the last stretch and take the stage, his second victory of the season after the 5th stage of the Tour Down Under.
1. Giacomo Nizzolo (NTT Pro Cycling Team) in 3h49’57’’
2. Pascal Ackermann (Bora – Hansgrohe) s.t.
3. Jasper Stuyven (Trek – Segafredo) s.t.
1. Maximilian Schachmann (Bora – Hansgrohe)
2. Giacomo Nizzolo (NTT Pro Cycling Team) at 15’’
3. Jasper Stuyven (Trek – Segafredo) at 21’’
Next up: 3rd stage: Chalette-sur-Loing – La Châtre