Omega Pharma – Quick-Step Cycling Team rider Sylvain Chavanel put all his effort into a possible victory at the 3km Paris-Nice prologue on Sunday. Chavanel earned a 2nd place finish, just one second shy of the win, with the hard work evident by his face in the final meters.
Damien Gaudin (Team Europcar) won the prologue with a time of 3’37″. Lieuwe Westra (Vacansoleil-DCM) was 3rd, also one second back from the victor.
Peter Velits had a strong race for OPQS as well, finishing 6th (+03″). OPQS looks next to the 195km first stage of Paris-Nice on Monday. Stage 1 is flat, but there are exposed sections that could animate the race if there is a strong wind. There is also a 45km loop leading into the final sprint at Avenue de Paris.
“I’m satisfied about my race,” Chavanel said. “After the finish line, you know, you start thinking about the small things that can change the result. But I think Gaudin deserved this victory. He was really strong. He is a specialist of this kind of race and he is also a good track rider. Today I tried to go for the victory and I’m happy about my performance and the feeling I had along the parcour. Of course it would have been better to start tomorrow with the yellow jersey, but the road to Nice is still long. Paris-Nice is the first real objective of the season for me. I would like to do well and try to win a stage. I think it’s the best approach for me prior to the classics.”
“I’m happy about my race,” Velits said. “In such a short and technical race you don’t have the time to get into the rhythm. You have to ride at 100 percent from the beginning and take a few risks on the corners. It’s not exactly the kind of TT I prefer, but I think I performed well. I hope to get a chance to do something good during this week.”