Riders and teams braced themselves for another challenging day at Paris-Nice in France on Monday as high winds, heavy rain and snow lashed the stage two start in Rochefort-en-Yvelines.
Several pre-race favourites already lost nearly a minute on Sunday’s opening stage, after being caught out on the wrong side of a wind-assisted split in the peloton – and they will have to be wary that it doesn’t happen again on Monday.
Several teams tweeted videos prior to the stage two start showing the grim conditions. Trek-Segafredo’s clip shows team mechanics struggling to get the riders’ bikes prepared for the stage, as they are drenched in the downpour.
“It’s a hard job, but someone has got to do it,” the team joked.
Porte finished 47 seconds behind stage winner and early race leader Arnaud Démare (FDJ), with Contador and British hope Simon Yates (Orica-Scott) at 1-04.
On paper, the relatively flat 195km stage two from Rochefort-en-Yvelines to Amilly looks like it should end in a bunch sprint, giving sprinters André Greipel (Lotto-Soudal) and Marcel Kittel (Quick-Step Floors) a chance to grab a stage win – unless the weather causes chaos again.
As the stage started, the rain turned into sleet and snow.
Known as ‘The Race to the Sun”, the riders will all be hoping that the further they travel south, the better the conditions get, even if the terrain becomes more tricky.