In 15 years as a pro, Andre Greipel had never seen this – 51.2 kph in average over 165 kilometres. Our German sprinter was solid and stayed all day at the front of an echelon-ridden race. He just was on the wrong end of the last split as seven men made the difference with five kilometres to go. Andre took second place in the second group to finish ninth, five seconds from the winner. No win, but a top 10 finish and Andre Greipel’s form is something to cheer about on a dark day marked by Warren Barguil and Maxime Bouet’s injuries.
Andre Greipel : “I tried to stay in the front all the time from the start. The peloton split a first time after 25 kilometres, there were 30 riders at the front and I was of them. But the pace went down and the second bunch came back, it was better organised. I just drank two bottles during the stage and started to cramp in the last 30 kilometres. The seven guys who were ahead in the finale were the strongest. My plan was to stay with them but I just couldn’t. I was around the 25th place when it split, Quintana could not hold the wheel of the rider in front of him and that was it. I thought Groupama-FDJ would get us back in but that didn’t happen. I’m happy this day is behind us and I’m happy with it even if it was very complicated for the team. During the stage I didn’t know that Warren and Maxime had crashed. I just heard there was a crash in the peloton, I heard that Warren was in there but I didn’t know he had crashed. It’s a pity, really. He was in good form and after two days his race is already over, and for Maxime, too. Our team is now weakened for the mountain stages. We must stay focused, bounce back and go on with this Paris-Nice full gas.”
Yvon Ledanois : “Andre is well, he’s in good form. It’s a pity he did not have a team mate by his side, he would have spared energy for the final straight. We can’t reproach him anything, he’s a great pro ! Paris-Nice is an important team for Arkea-Samsic and he is there for us. He’s in the top 10, taking second place behind Arnaud Demare so it shows he’s well just like Warren was. We’re going to lift our heads up for the third stage. We will take our chances. We still have what it takes to go get a result. We will not finish empty handed.”