Fabio Jakobsen survived the crosswind chaos on stage two of Paris-Nice to sprint to victory in Orléans, on a day which saw multiple general classification riders lose time.
The Quick-Step Alpha Vinyl rider beat Wout van Aert (Jumbo-Visma) in the final 100m to take his sixth win of 2022.
Christophe Laporte was able to stay in the front group despite the wind causing splits and echelons and so maintains his hold on the yellow jersey at the end of stage two.
Among the multiple GC riders lose out were two-time defending champion Max Schachmann (Bora-Hansgrohe) and João Almeida (UAE Team Emirates), who lost 1:29 and 1:53 respectively.
How it happened
There was talk of wind as the peloton left Auffargis, with multiple teams interested in a change of direction about half way into the day to attempt to split things up.
Far ahead of that, however, there was an early breakaway which contained Matthew Holmes (Lotto-Soudal), the leader in the King of the Mountains competition, his teammate Philippe Gilbert, and Alexis Gougeard (B&B Hotels-KTM).
They attacked just 2km into the stage, and the move ensured that Holmes was able to continue to hoover up the limited points on offer for the climber's competition.
At one stage the time gap was up to almost six minutes, but concerted hard riding meant that the trio were brought back by the peloton at about 64km to go.
This was because the peloton was splintering into echelons in crosswinds as the day headed due south. Jumbo-Visma were heavily involved in pushing things, and the yellow jersey Christophe Laporte, GC leader Primož Roglič and Wout van Aert looked incredibly comfortable the whole afternoon.
Crashes conditioned the crosswind-portion of the stage, with Brandon McNulty (UAE Team Emirates) and Bauke Mollema (Trek-Segafredo) amongst those involved in incidents that left them off the back of the leading groups.
Brief splits in the peloton saw both Adam Yates (Ineos Grenadiers) and Simon Yates (BikeExchange-Jayco) in the second group on the road, along with Aleksandr Vlasov (Bora-Hansgrohe), but despite the efforts of Jumbo-Visma, this gap rarely grew to above ten seconds.
Behind, Max Schachmann (Bora-Hansgrohe), the UAE Team Emirates duo of McNulty and João Almeida, and Guillaume Martin (Cofidis) losing out in the wind. Meanwhile, some riders like Roglič and Nairo Quintana (Arkéa-Samsic) looked incredibly at home in the echelons.
With 43km to go, the front group was set with 35 riders and would not break up too much again. It included GC hopefuls as well as a few sprint hopefuls like Fabio Jakobsen (Quick-Step Alpha Vinyl) and Mads Pedersen (Trek-Segafredo).
Stefan Bissegger (EF Education-EasyPost) made an attempt to attack off the front in the run in, but he was quickly brought back by Yves Lampaert (Quick-Step Alpha Vinyl).
The Belgian team had four riders in that front group and made their numbers count in the end. While Laporte looked to have set up Van Aert perfectly, Jakobsen timed his sprint correctly and powered past the Belgian to the finish.
Laporte increased his lead in the yellow jersey over his teammate Van Aert thanks to bonus seconds, and Roglič continues to be well positioned in third. The Yates brothers, Vlasov, Quintana, Dani Martínez (Ineos Grenadiers), Ben O'Connor (AG2R Citroën) and Jack Haig (Bahrain-Victorious) all avoided disaster in the wind to finish in the same time.
Results: Paris-Nice 2022, stage two
1. Fabio Jakobsen (Ned) Quick-Step Alpha Vinyl, in 3-22-54
2. Wout van Aert (Bel) Jumbo-Visma
3. Christophe Laporte (Fra) Jumbo-Visma
4. Luka Mezgec (Sln) BikeExchange-Jayco
5. Mads Pedersen (Den) Trek-Segafredo
6. Jasper Stuyven (Bel) Trek-Segafredo
7. Luka Mozzato (Ita) B&B Hotels-KTM
8. Juan Sebastián Molano (Col) UAE Team Emirates
9. Oliver Naesen (Bel) AG2R Citroën
10. Cees Bol (Ned) Team DSM, all at same time
GENERAL CLASSIFICATION AFTER STAGE two
1. Christophe Laporte (Fra) Jumbo-Visma, in 7-11-15
2. Wout van Aert (Bel) Jumbo-Visma, at 5s
3. Primož Roglič (Slo) Jumbo-Visma, at 11s
4. Pierre Latour (Fra) TotalEnergies, at 36s
5. Zdeněk Štybar (Cze) Quick-Step Alpha Vinyl, at 38s
6. Mads Pedersen (Den) Trek-Segafredo, at 39s
7. Jasper Stuyven (Bel) Trek-Segafredo
8. Florian Sénéchal (Fra) Quick-Step Alpha Vinyl
9. Bryan Coquard (Fra) Cofidis
10. Aleksandr Vlasov (Rus) Bora-Hansgrohe, all at same time
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