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Paris-Nice. Stage 2. Luis Leon Sanchez still 3rd in GC after another wild day in France

It was another day to survive at the Paris-Nice (stage 2, 163.5 km from Les Bréviaires to Bellegarde), since the weather conditions did not improve over the night and the peloton once again faced stormy crosswind and coldness.

For several times the peloton was splitting on the crosswind during the day with the first time quite shortly after the start and later, once again, after the second climb of the day Cote des Ganges-le-Roi. Astana Pro Team was able to bring in front Luis Leon Sanchez and Hugo Houle, but later Sanchez, third in the overall after yesterday stage, was forced to stop due to a flat tire.

- A very difficult day, stressful in every minute of racing. There was no time to drink or to eat! After the peloton split in echelons, I was able to move in the leading group, taking some bonus seconds on the intermediate sprint. But, later, I’ve got a flat tire and had to stop to change my rear wheel. When I came back on the bike I found myself in the third group. We did a good job all together to catch a group in front of us and later we chased really hard to catch the leaders. Hugo Houle was with me and he did absolutely enormous work, helping me in that chase. Finally, with 10 km to go we managed to come in front. Honestly, in that moment I was empty, but anyway, till the finish line I did my best to finish with the leaders. I am really sorry for Gorka Izagirre, who crashed earlier in the stage, but hope, he is ok and will avoid serious injures, - said Luis Leon Sanchez.

Astana’s Gorka Izagirre crashed out in the second part of the distance, injuring his elbow. Immediately, he was brought to the hospital for detailed medical checking, where, fortunately, no fractures were found. Finally, a contusion of the left elbow and left hip were diagnosed only.

There was a lot of action inside the final 5 km of the stage with Luis Leon Sanchez always staying in front, but, anyway, the stage ended with a sprint, once again won by Dylan Groenewegen. Astana’s Luis Leon Sanchez finished 6th.

Thus, after stage 2 Sanchez kept his 3rd place in the overall standings of the Paris-Nice, staying 13 seconds behind Groenewegen, the current race leader.

Stage 3 of the race will be held tomorrow: Cepoy – Moulinez/Yzeure, 200 km.

Photo credit: © Getty Images

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