With more than a dash of national-characteristic cliché it’s probably fair to say that it takes a Brit to defy the weather like that seen at the start of yesterday’s Paris-Nice and still post a blistering time. But so it was for Team Sky’s Bradley Wiggins who made his start on the opening Time Trial (9.4km, Dampierre-en-Yvelines to Saint-Remy-les-Chevreuse) third from last with heavy rain blighting conditions and the seemingly impossible task of catching up on a time of 11’19” set by Sweden’s Gustav Larsson of Vacansoleil-DCM. Finishing just a second behind the Swede, Wiggins took overall second to set himself up nicely for the coming stages.
Less fortunate was Team Saxo Bank, who not only saw Juan Jose Haedo replaced due to illness by Anders Lund at the last minute, but then witnessed their Belgian star Nick Nuyens crash out brutally on a descent and slam hip-first into a traffic island. After a check-up in hospital a bruised Nuyens reported: “Luckily, there are no broken bones. But naturally, I’m sore and especially my hip took a hard beating in the crash. My preparations for the Ronde van Vlaandern are only in danger if I’m unable to complete Paris-Nice so I’m really hoping that I’ll be back in the saddle tomorrow…”
Paris-Nice continues today with a flat, and hopefully dry, 185.5km run from Mantes-la-Jolie to Orléans.