John Degenkolb (Giant-Shimano) had to settle for second place on the second stage of the Paris-Nice long-distance cycle race. This time the Dutchman Moreno Hofland (Belkin) had the better end for himself. Third place went to overall first Nacer Bouhanni (FDJ.fr).
The 205-kilometer stage from Rambouillet to Saint Georges sur Baulche was initially characterized by a pair of breakaways. Anthony Delaplace (Bretagne-Séche Environment) and Aleksis Saramotins (IAM) were at times ahead of the field by more than eleven minutes. Twenty kilometers from the finish, this lead had shrunk to just under three minutes. In particular, the helpers of the leader Bouhanni took care of the tracking work, which bore fruit almost ten kilometers before the finish. At the front, Delaplace was no longer able to hold Saramotins' rear wheel, but the Latvian was finally caught three kilometers before the finale.
This was overshadowed by a fall in the last 200 meters of the stage. Moreno Hofland took advantage of the moment and surprised Degenkolb with a solid start, which he had nothing to oppose. The tragic hero of the stage was Gianni Meersman (Omega Pharma-QuickStep), who was third the day before. On the way, the Belgian diligently collected bonus seconds, which virtually earned him the leader's jersey. However, he fell a few kilometers before the end and only made contact with the field again through the slipstream of his team vehicle. The jury gave him a time penalty of 1:10 minutes.
1. Moreno Hofland (Belkin) 4:53:46
2. John Degenkolb (Giant Shimano) 0:00:00
3. Nacer Bouhanni (FDJ.fr) 0:00:00
4. Alexander Kristoff (Katusha) 0:00:00
5. Thor Hushovd (BMC) 0:00:00
1. Nacer Bouhanni (FDJ.fr) 8:46:43
2. John Degenkolb (Giant Shimano) 0:00:02
3. Moreno Hofland (Belkin) 0:00:04
4. Geraint Thomas (Sky) 0:00:13
5. Bryan Coquard (Europcar) 0:00:14