Richie Porte has described the start to his 2017 Paris-Nice campaign as ‘disastrous’ after wet and windy conditions dictated day one of the ‘Race in the Sun’.
2016 Milan-San Remo winner Arnaud Demare won the 148.5-km first stage with Frenchman Julian Alaphilippe finishing 2nd. In other big news, countryman Romain Bardet was disqualified after being assisted back to the bunch by his team car after crashing 22km from the finish.
Pre-race favourites including Richie Porte and Alberto Contador lost considerable ground after being caught up in echelons, with Richie describing the stage as “a disaster”.
Porte said although he lost time, in the end he gained precious seconds on other favourites.
‘Race Not Over’: Porte
“It was a disaster but not too much of a disaster,” he said.
“The race is not over. Today wasn’t ideal but my team were fantastic and they really controlled that, but tomorrow’s another day. The split just happened on the cobbles. Once it splits like that and there is such a big group, then it’s hard. It’s not over. There are some strong guys in front but still a lot of racing to go.”
At the start of the flat 195km Stage 2, Porte will trail Demare by 57 seconds with Contador a further 17 seconds behind.
Orica-Scott’s Adam Yates Wins GP Industria
In other European cycling action, Orica-Scott have continued their fine run of form with Giro d’Italia contender Adam Yates winning the prestigious Italian race GP Industria and Artigianato di Larciano.
It was Yates’ second event victory having also won in 2014.
Part of a final six-man group that included Cannondale-Drapac riders Rigoberto Uran and Simon Clark, 24yo Yates let his companions attack before jumping clear to steal the win.
“I’m not renowned as a sprinter so it’s a good win for me,” said Yates.
“I tried to give it some welly on the last climb and have a few digs, but I couldn’t get away from the other guys and had to wait for the sprint. It’s really good to come back here and get a second win, the team were fantastic and it’s a great way to go into next week’s Tirreno Adriatico.”