Michael Matthews surprised to win the prologue of Paris-Nice, beating the time of Tom Dumoulin by less than a second, after Dumoulin had finished ahead of New Zealander Patrick Bevin, who put in a great ride to finish third. As far as the GC fight goes, nothing has been decided. Tom Dumoulin had the best time of the favourites, unsurprisingly, with Ion Izagirre the next best, five seconds behind him. Geraint Thomas and Alberto Contador performed roughly as expected, Thomas managing seventh place, seven seconds down, and nine ahead of Contador, who finished sixteen second behind Matthews in twenty-seventh place. Richie Porte, at ten seconds back, finished in eleventh place. This is largely irrelevant for the GC, Contador is within bonification range of Thomas. However, with fairly gentle climbs to come, Dumoulin has put himself in a good position to mount a challenge.
Simon Clarke won the GP Industria & Artigianato by thirty-three seconds with help from his team mate Ramunas Navardauskas, who after being in the break all day, helped the Australian solo to victory in his first race for Cannondale. Andrea Fedi, Giovanni Visconti and Rigoberto Uran finished together behind Clarke, and finished in that order for second, third and fourth. Cannondale performed very well in the race, taking first, fourth, sixth, thirteenth and sixteenth.
It was a good day for the British team at the Track World Championships, with Laura Trott wrapping up the omnium and Bradley Wiggins and Mark Cavendish rolling back the years to win the Madison ahead of France and Spain, though not without drama. It was a close race, with Cavendish crashing, and laps being taken early in the race. Or so I gathered from Twitter.
In West Flanders:
Sean De Bie took the GC and Timothy Dupont took the final stage of the Driedaagse van West-Vlaanderen. De Bie and six others slipped away from GC leader and prologue winner Tom Bohli, finishing fifty-four seconds ahead of the peloton.