Dylan Groenewegen sprints to his fifth win of 2018 in the second stage of Paris-Nice.

Dylan Groenewegen sprinted to a clear win in Monday’s second stage of Paris-Nice. The LottoNL-Jumbo rider outgunned Quick-Step’s Elia Viviani to claim what is already his fifth victory of 2018.

Lotto Soudal’s André Greipel crossed the line behind Viviani to take third. Groupama-FDJ’s Arnaud Démare, winner of the opening stage, came home in fifth place to retain his grip on the race leader’s jersey.

Stage 2, top 10

Top-10 overall

“The stage was very easy but the final was very hard. But we were in very good position in the last corner and then I was sprinting, so that was good,” Groenewegen said after his win.

“I feel very good, but also the team is very strong and they did a very good job in the final. It was a hard sprint with a small climb on the end. It was a fight.”

The mostly flat 187-kilometer stage from Orsonville to Vierzo saw little action in the early goings. A six-rider breakaway finally formed near the midway point of the day, with Olivier Naesen (Ag2r La Mondiale), Anthony Delaplace (Fortuneo-Samsic), Manuele Boaro (Bahrain-Merida), Tiago Machado (Katusha-Alpecin), Thomas De Gendt (Lotto Soudal), and Lars Boom (LottoNL-Jumbo) comprising the escape.

A hungry pack kept the move on a short leash, not allowing the breakaway to get more than a minute until Boaro and Machado jumped clear from their companions to push on as two. After the peloton swallowed up the other four riders from the initial move, it allowed the duo up the road to build an advantage of around three minutes.

Some 30 kilometers from the finish, the sprinter-focused teams decided to take control of the race. Machado and Boaro hung on until inside the final 10 kilometers, but the fast finishers were not to be denied, sweeping up the duo to set up a bunch kick — though not before Quick-Step’s Julian Alaphilippe led a short-lived move off the front with two other riders.

After the Frenchman was caught, the sprint trains coalesced to put their speedsters into position, but a slight incline and a small split at the head of affairs made for a hectic final few hundred meters.

Bora-Hansgrohe’s Sam Bennett was the first of the top sprinters to open his move but he was swamped by rivals in a matter of seconds. Groenewegen hit the front around a hundred meters from the finish. Viviani was tucked into his slipstream, but the Italian couldn’t manage to come around the flying Dutchman, who powered to a convincing victory in a season full of them so far.

Stage 2 results

General classification