A two-part sunny start for Israel Start-Up Nation in Paris-Nice, the so-called ‘Race to the Sun’. The first, the race started (surprisingly) in sunny conditions. The second, the team saw two riders finish in the top-10.
On the finish straight (450 meters at 3.5%), Greipel and Barbier found themselves in promising positions and gave it their all in the sprint.
Hectic and nervous
It was a nervous day in the opening stage of this season’s first WorldTour stage race in Europe. “Especially the last forty kilometers,” said Andre Greipel after the race.
There were multiple crashes throughout the day and multiple attacks in the last kilometers.
ISN’s riders stayed safe (Matthias Brändle hit the deck but made it back to the pack) and all breakaway attempts were neutralized far before the finish.
Fighting for positions
“Everybody was fighting for positions,” the German sprinter said. “Team ISN did a good job by staying in the front.”
In the last three kilometers, the ISN train-members found themselves well. Zabel, Greipel and Barbier were right there and avoided a crash in the last kilometer. Greipel: “The team kept us in good position, even though it was, indeed, a very messy final.”
Greipel was a little bit from the back when he started his sprint. “Barbier and I were in the far front a bit too early, so we had to find some shelter as there was quite a bit of headwind.”
Greipel gained a lot of positions in the last hundred meters, passing his teammate Barbier and others.
Tomorrow the two get another chance to sprint. Stage 2 is even flatter than today’s opening stage of Paris-Nice.