Michael Matthews of Orica – GreenEdge delivered a surprise victory in the Paris-Nice prologue Sunday, finishing a 6.1km course in a time of 7:39. Among the final ten starters on the day, the Australian managed to best the time of Giant – Alpecin’s Tom Dumoulin, among the top favorites at the start of the action, by one second.
The short course in Conflans-SainteHonrine looked pan flat on paper but after an opening stretch along the river Seine, the road turned sharply round to the left and kicked up, with most riders having to get out of the saddle. It was mostly flat thereafter but matters were complicated by five 90-degree turns and rain for the earlier starters.
As was to be expected from such a short time trial, there were no huge gaps between the general classification contenders, though Geraint Thomas (Sky) did open up nine seconds on 2010 champion Alberto Contador, who he beat at the Volta ao Algarve last month.
Patrick Bevin delivered the second big surprise of the day as the Kiwi took third place with a time of 7.41 and it even briefly looked as though Dumoulin would be unable to beat him. The neo-professional finished 10th in the Tour Down Under but today’s race was his first ever outing in a European WorldTour race.
Paris-Nice 2016 – prologue results (Conflans-Sainte-Honorine):
|1||Michael Matthews (Orica-GreenEdge)||
|2||Tom Dumoulin (Giant-Alpecin)||
|3||Patrick Bevin (Cannondale)||
|4||Jesus Herrada (Movistar)||
|5||Jon Izagirre (Movistar)||
|6||Lieuwe Westra (Astana)||
|7||Geraint Thomas (Sky)||
|8||Dries Devenyns (IAM)||
|9||Sylvain Chavanel (Direct Energie)||
|10||Jerome Coppel (IAM)||
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