Paris – Nice 2023 – Stage 2

The first round for the sprinters saw Merlier taking his fourth win this season. It was masterclass from Quick-Step in the finale. Tomorrow is another flat day where the wind could play a factor.



A very simple run in tomorrow, with 500 meters to go, they will have to tale the left way around a roundabout. What that’ll do is stretch the group out. Having a good lead out is important.


Wind from the west tomorrow, around 5 m/s. Temperatures around 7 C and no rain. Is 5 m/s enough? I’m not too sure. The best place for a team to try and create echelons is 93 km from the line. Here, the riders go south having pure crosswind. Afterwards, they have lovely cross tailwind to the line. It is in the second part of the stage there will be the best chances for echelons.

How will the stage unfold?

I’m not sure if 5 m/s is enough for echelons. One has to remember it is the context of where the wind blows. 5 m/s in Italy will never provide echelons due to vegetation, but in certainly can between Paris and Nice.

Who wants echelons the day before the TTT? I think quite a few teams would be happy if the wind rips the race to pieces. I am actually uncertain how well Vingegaard is in echelons, he didn’t really race that many races last season where the wind played a factor. I think he will go well, it is difficult to imagine anything else. Pogacar and Skjelmose are two riders that go well in the wind too.

Then, the classics oriented teams with a sprinter, here I’m thinking the likes of Quick Step, Alpecin and Lotto-Dstny. Plenty of teams excel in the crosswinds. We will have to see on the road, if the wind is tough enough. I would count on it.


Merlier – he and the team completely dominated the sprint today. It was fantastic to see Asgreen dropping down in the peloton and bringing him back up. In the sprint, he was smart to follow Kooij who suprisingly decided not to benefit a bit from Bennett having to open his sprint early. With their team, they could go 2/2 tomorrow.

De Lie – fastest man in the world? It is the first race without De Buyst and it was a tricky finale to get right today without much of a lead-out. Lotto was kind of disappointing today, looking at their riders starting, De Lie should have more help. He started his sprint in 9th wheel, five bike lengths behind Merlier. He finished one bike length behind him. He is a bit dependent on Lotto putting on a better show and make sure he gets a better position.

Bennett – it just seems like he is half a level behind Merlier and De Lie. He has Van Poppel which is a big plus. He should be challenging for the podium.

Pedersen – usually not quick enough but if the wind blows and a few sprinters are missing, you can be sure Mads P is in the front group fighting for the stage win.

Kooij – it was just very odd replaying the sprint. Perhaps he knows something I don’t but I could imagine following the wheel of Bennett then trying to get around is smarter than taking a worse race line without drafting. He is good and he knows how to find the right wheel, but I feel he is a tad slower than De Lie and Merlier.

Who will win?

I will take a win for De Lie. He just keeps on impressing me.

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