Cees Bol powers to victory in a chaotic finale on stage two of Paris-Nice 2021

The Dutch sprinter took victory with a superb team effort to lead the big sprinter out

(Image credit: Getty Images)

Cees Bol took stage two of Paris-Nice 2021 in an extremely chaotic finale in the tight twisty roads of Amilly, claiming victory ahead of Mads Pedersen (Trek-Segafredo) and Michael Matthews (Team BikeExchange).

Bol (Team DSM) followed his lead-out train that guided him to take the stage comfortably ahead of some of the world's best sprinters.

The race saw multiple crashes over the pan-flat stage between Oinvill-sur-Montcient and Amilly including George Bennett (Jumbo-Visma), as the nerves where high but the potential crosswinds were not.

Matthews took five bonus seconds over the two intermediate sprints on the stage and then managed to sprint to third, meaning he took the yellow jersey by four seconds over Pedersen and stage one winner, Sam Bennett (Deceuninck - Quick-Step).

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How it happened

Stage two of Paris-Nice started in Oinville-sur-Montcient before taking on a pan-flat 188km route to the finish town of Amilly. Sander Armée (Qhubeka-Assos) and Dries De Bondt (Alpecin-Fenix) were the riders to escape into the early break.

That inevitably doomed break lasted around 60km despite the pair gaining almost four minutes over the peloton at one point. Once they were brought back with 102km to go, no breakaway was seen for the rest of the day as the race nervously made its way through the wide-open roads of northern France.

Teams did try and break the race up with about 60km to go and the race did split a little bit but the wind wasn’t strong enough for it to stick and the race calmed down about 10 kilometres later.

With 40km to go the race had dropped to a snail's pace as riders just took the opportunity to chat, as Jumbo-Visma and Ineos Grenadiers looked after their respective leaders Primož Roglič and Tao Geoghegan Hart right at the front of the group.

The second intermediate sprint came after Michael Matthews won the first. André Greipel (Israel Start-Up Nation) took the second ahead of Matthews and Nils Politt (Bora-Hansgrohe) with Geoghegan Hart also attempting to take bonus seconds.

Matthews taking second place in the final intermediate sprint did mean that he virtually went into joint lead overall with Sam Bennett (Deceuninck - Quick-Step) before heading to the finish after the Australian took a total of five seconds.

After that sprint the race went into a very tight bend that had fencing at either side of the road, with George Bennett (Jumbo-Visma) going down and looking dazed before remounting his bike and continuing with 30km to go.

The race then headed into extremely tight and twisty roads with yet another crash that saw Alexis Vuillermoz (Total Direct Energie) go down. The Frenchman looked in a very bad way before later abandoning.

The pace finally kicked into life with 10km to go as teams looked to keep their leaders in the best possible positions. Gregor Mühlberger (Movistar) and Daniel Arroyave (EF Education-Nippo) were among those to hit the deck as they raced towards the stage conclusion.

As the peloton came into the final 5km there was absolute chaos as the roads continued to narrow heading into Amilly, as Trek-Segafredo took full control of the race.

A crash stretched the peloton out with about 600 metres to go with Pascal Ackermann's lead-out man, Jordi Meeus (Bora-Hansgrohe) falling with three other riders.

Team DSM did have control before Trek-Segafredo took over yet again in the final 400 metres, Pedersen was launched first but it was Bol who powered his way through to take the stage with almost a gap of two bike lengths over Pedersen and the rest.

Matthews goes into the yellow jersey as the race heads in to the individual time trial on stage three, where the general classification riders will aim to make movement up standings before they head towards the mountainous end of the race.


Paris-Nice 2021, stage two: Oinville-sur-Montcient - Amilly (188km)

1. Cees Bol (Ned) Team DSM, in 4-27-59

2. Mads Pedersen (Den) Trek-Segafredo

3. Michael Matthews (Aus) Team BikeExchange

4. Bryan Coquard (Fra) B&B Hotels-Vital Concept p/b KTM

5. Sam Bennett (Irl) Deceuninck - Quick-Step

6. John Degenkolb (Ger) Lotto-Soudal

7. Pascal Ackermann (Ger) Bora-Hansgrohe

8. Phil Bauhaus (Ger) Bahrain Victorious

9. Jasper Philipsen (Bel) Alpecin-Fenix

10. Rudy Barbier (Fra) Israel Start-Up Nation, all at same time

General classification after stage two

1. Michael Matthews (Aus) Team BikeExchange, in 8-19-23

2. Mads Pedersen (Den) Trek-Segafredo, at 4 seconds

3. Sam Bennett (Irl) Deceuninck - Quick-Step

4. Cees Bol (Ned) Team DSM, all at same time

5. Arnaud Démare (Fra) Groupama-FDJ, at 8s

6. André Greipel (Ger) Israel Start-Up Nation, at 11s

7. Tiesj Benoot (Bel) Team DSM, at 12s

8. Florian Vermeersch (Bel) Lotto-Soudal, at same time

9. Jasper Stuyvan (Bel) Trek-Segafredo, at 13s

10. Ben Swift (GBr) Ineos Grenadiers, at same time

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Tim Bonville-Ginn

Hi, I'm one of Cycling Weekly's content writers for the web team responsible for writing stories on racing, tech, updating evergreen pages as well as the weekly email newsletter. Proud Yorkshireman from the UK's answer to Flanders, Calderdale, go check out the cobbled climbs!

I started watching cycling back in 2010, before all the hype around London 2012 and Bradley Wiggins at the Tour de France. In fact, it was Alberto Contador and Andy Schleck's battle in the fog up the Tourmalet on stage 17 of the Tour de France.

It took me a few more years to get into the journalism side of things, but I had a good idea I wanted to get into cycling journalism by the end of year nine at school and started doing voluntary work soon after. This got me a chance to go to the London Six Days, Tour de Yorkshire and the Tour of Britain to name a few before eventually joining Eurosport's online team while I was at uni, where I studied journalism. Eurosport gave me the opportunity to work at the world championships in Harrogate back in the awful weather.

After various bar jobs, I managed to get my way into Cycling Weekly in late February of 2020 where I mostly write about racing and everything around that as it's what I specialise in but don't be surprised to see my name on other news stories.

When not writing stories for the site, I don't really switch off my cycling side as I watch every race that is televised as well as being a rider myself and a regular user of the game Pro Cycling Manager. Maybe too regular.

My bike is a well used Specialized Tarmac SL4 when out on my local roads back in West Yorkshire as well as in northern Hampshire with the hills and mountains being my preferred terrain.