Ultimately, the record books will state the 72nd edition of Paris-Nice started with a flat, sprinter-friendly stage which was won by one of the WorldTour’s best young fast men.
The stage itself, however, was anything but as straight-forward as the result would suggest – and certainly more fraught than anybody would have predicted pre-race.
Warm, sunny weather in the Parisian suburb of Mantes-la-Jolie greeted the return of the UCI WorldTour but not even the absence of any inclement weather could prevent a frantic day of racing.
With crashes throughout the stage proving to be a regular occurrence – even eventual winner Nacer Bouhanni (FDJ.fr) hit the deck – several leading GC contenders were reminded of the perils of a so-called easy stage with their overall hopes dashed already.
It was not bad news for everyone however, with Britain’s Simon Yates (Orica-GreenEDGE) enjoying a successful first day in the WorldTour peloton and Geraint Thomas (Team Sky) handily placed overnight.
Nevertheless, there was still plenty to ponder after an exciting day’s racing. Read our five observations over the following pages.
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