New Zealand cyclist Greg Henderson won the first stage of Paris-Nice on Monday for the British-based Team Sky. The 33-year-old, a gold medal winner at the 2002 Commonwealth Games in Manchester, beat Slovenia’s Grega Bole in a sprint finish to clinch first place. But Henderson could not do enough to take the yellow jersey from yesterday’s prologue stage winner, Rabobank’s Dutch rider Lars Boom.
France’s Romain Feillu and The Netherlands’ Albert Timmer led the peloton for most of the stage before fading away after 146-kilometers (100 miles) of the 201-kilometer course. Spain’s two-time Tour de France winner Alberto Contador crossed the line despite falling three kilometers from the end.
“My worry is not the time lost on the first stage, even though I would have liked it to have turned out differently, but the pain,” said the Madrid-born Astana rider, who hurt his left thigh in the fall. “It is not the 17 seconds lost that concerns me right now but mainly how I will feel tomorrow (Tuesday) morning,” the 27-year-old added.
Fellow challengers Pierre Rolland and Levi Leipheimer also took a tumble but both managed to recover to finish the stage. The second stage will be held between Contres and Limoges on Tuesday.
Paris-Nice Stage 1: Saint-Arnoult-en-Yvelines – Contres 203.5km
1. Gregory Henderson (NZl/Sky) 4:22:17
2. Grega Bole (Slo/Lampre) @ s.t.
3. Jeremy Galland (Fra/Saur-Sojasun)
4. Alexandr Kolobnev (Rus/Katusha)
5. Alejandro Valverde (Spa/Caisse d’Epargne)
6. Nicolas Roche (Irl/AG2R La Mondiale)
7. Jens Voigt (Ger/Saxo Bank)
8. Marco Marcato (Ita/Vacansoleil)
9. Tony Martin (Ger/HTC-Columbia)
10. Roman Kreuziger (Cze/Liquigas-Doimo)
Overall Classification After Stage 1
1. Lars Boom (Ned/Rabobank) 4:33:11
2. Jens Voigt (Ger/Saxo Bank) @. 05
3. David Millar (GBr/Garmin-Transitions) @ .13
4. Luis-Leon Sanchez (Spa/Caisse d’Epargne) @ .14
5. Roman Kreuziger (Cze/Liquigas-Doimo) @ .15
6. Gregory Henderson (NZL/Sky) @ .20
7. Levi Leipheimer (USA/RadioShack) @ .25
8. Alberto Contador (Spa/Astana) @ s.t.
9. Peter Sagan (Svk/Liquigas-Doimo) @ .29
10. Xavier Tondo (Spa/Cervlo) @ s.t.