Paris-Nice has been a fantastic watch so far, both stages one and two have caused drama in the crosswinds and have put the overall leader, Max Schachmann (Bora-Hansgrohe), into a very nice position, but how do the stats look on Strava?
Stage one got cut to pieces by the wind and rain. Julian Alaphilippe (Deceuninck – Quick-Step) and Tiesj Benoot (Team Sunweb) went for a long distance break with around 30km to go, they were caught just over the top of the cobbled climb in the final 4km by Schachmann and Dylan Teuns (Bahrain-McLaren) with Schachmann taking the win.
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It was the riders behind who went up the climb quickest on Strava, Stefan Küng (Groupama-FDJ) and Cees Bol (Team Sunweb) went up fastest on the Bosse pavée Neauphle segment.
Bol later chucked out 1400 watts in his sprint, leading in the rest of the race to finish fifth, holding his sprint at around 1000w all the way to the line.
Stage two saw more pandemonium in the peloton with Bora-Hansgrohe taking full advantage of the wind. Riders like Alaphilippe and Nairo Quintana (Arkéa-Samsic) both lost time due to a puncture and a crash.
Some riders surprised yet again, Sergio Higuita (EF Pro Cycling) was right up there in the sprint where he came fifth behind eventual winner, Giacomo Nizzolo (NTT Pro Cycling). Higuita is now the highest placed pure climber in GC and wears the white jersey for best young rider.
As expected, some of the big riders have been putting out some very impressive power. In the final sprint, Nils Politt (Israel Start-Up Nation) held 1000w for 30 seconds which saw him take fourth on the stage.
Everyone’s average power for the whole stage was in the high 200s, but the top riders on the stage got to around 1500w in the sprint.
Politt and his team had three riders up in the lead group, but the team that dominated the race on the second stage was Bora-Hansgrohe. Not only do they have the leaders jersey, they had four riders in the top 11 yesterday with Pascal Ackermann, Max Schachmann, Felix Großschartner and Peter Sagan all up there at the end.
It was Sagan who destroyed the peloton, which was already a depleted group, when he along with Schachmann and world champion, Mads Pedersen (Trek-Segafredo) decided to really up the pace on the last real exposed section before the finish, kicking riders like Viviani, Thibaut Pinot (Groupama-FDJ) and Romain Bardet (AG2R La Mondiale) out of the back.
You can see the effort put in by the riders on Strava around the 140km mark, riders like Pascal Ackermann were hitting 800 to 1,000w regularly as Bora-Hansgrohe took control of the race.
Ultimately it wasn’t to be for Ackermann and co., but they have shown some very impressive form before the classics really kick in, with Sagan looking strong by the day.
Crosswind has wrecked the hopes for almost every big name sprinter in the race with Sam Bennett (Deceuninck – Quick-Step), Caleb Ewan (Lotto-Soudal) and Elia Viviani (Cofidis), among others, all not having a good go at victory.
With the mountains, time trial and punchier terrain being on the menu for the rest of the race, you have to wonder whether any will go all the way to Nice.