Wed, Mar 11, 2015 - Page 20 News List

Kristoff wins first stage marred by Boonen crash

AP, CONTRES, France

The peloton rides past the Chateau de Chambord during the first stage of the Paris-Nice between Saint-Remy-les-Chevreuse and Contres, France, on Monday.

Photo: AFP

Alexander Kristoff of Norway sprinted to victory in the first stage of the Paris-Nice on Monday to claim his fifth win this season, while former world champion Tom Boonen retired with a dislocated left shoulder.

The Katusha rider edged Frenchmen Nacer Bouhanni and Bryan Coquard at the end of the 196.5km stage from Saint-Remy-les-Chevreuse to Contres, France, that was marred by Boonen’s crash.

“It’s my first stage win on the Paris-Nice, so it’s another step forward because I’ve tried three times before,” Kristoff said. “When we reached the last 700m I was the only one left on my team and I managed to get behind the wheel of [John] Degenkolb and Bouhanni, who was in a pretty good position. I knew I had to hold them off, as well as Bryan Coquard, so I didn’t know I’d won right away when I crossed the line.”

Michal Kwiatkowski, who won Sunday’s prologue, retained the leader’s maillot jaune.

Boonen heavily hit the ground about 17km from the finish after colliding with another rider.

Race organizers announced that the Belgian sprinter suffered a collarbone fracture, while Boonen’s team said he underwent tests at a nearby hospital and was diagnosed with “a left acromioclavicular joint dislocation.”

The one-day classics specialist will be sidelined for a minimum of three to six weeks, meaning that he will likely miss the Tour of Flanders and Paris-Roubaix.

“Unfortunately, because of the injury and the time it takes to recover, Boonen will not be able to participate in the Northern Classics. Tomorrow, Tom will undergo further examination in Belgium to diagnose the grade of the dislocation and determine if surgery is necessary,” Etixx-Quick-Step doctor Yvan van Mol said.

The race was due to continue yesterday with a 172km trek from the ZooParc de Beauval to Saint-Amand-Montrond in central France.

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