Paris-Nice Stage 2: Meersman 6th, OPQS Keeps Chavanel in GC Top 3
Omega Pharma - Quick-Step Cycling Team kept themselves safe from crashes in a rainy, windy, occasionally chaotic stage, and also controlled the race at the front for green jersey wearer Sylvain Chavanel, also in the hunt for the yellow jersey at Paris-Nice in 200.5km Stage 2 on Tuesday.
Marcel Kittel (Argos-Shimano) won the slightly uphill bunch sprint somewhat easily, with Elia Viviani (Cannondale) finishing 2nd and Leigh Howard (Orica-GreenEDGE) placing 3rd. OPQS rider Gianni Meersman was 6th.
OPQS riders Tom Boonen and Stijn Vandenbergh did plenty of work at the front, protecting Chavanel but also getting important training done in the wind. Boonen was seen taking a big turn inside the final 11km before his work was done for the day.
Viviani, who beat Chavanel for the final intermediate spint bonus, and also finished in the top 3, is the new leader at Paris-Nice. Chavanel trails him by 7 seconds. The Stage 2 yellow jersey wearer Nacer Bouhanni (FDJ) crashed out of the race while taking a corner.
Peter Velits of OPQS is also still in the top 10 of the GC, in 8th place (+11").