Bozic 4th in slow, sleepy, sprint finish
Astana Pro Team rider Borut Bozic sprinted to fourth place on Tuesday in the second full day at Paris-Nice, but said the 200km stage was slower than any he had ever raced before.
Bozic, the Slovenian national road race champion, said the stage from Vimory to Cerilly was flat and windy, but an early breakaway of three riders failed to show any motivation once one rider quit the escape to return to the peloton.
"I don't think I've ever been in a race that slow. I felt sleepy at one point, and it wasn't until the last 30k that we went full gas," Bozic said.
"The breakaway got to the first bonus sprint and one rider just stopped to wait for the group. When the other two riders realized that it would be impossible for them to go to the finish, they stopped too. Then the peloton slowed down to about 30k an hour and there was no real motivation from anybody to go. I don't like racing like that," Bozic said.
In the final straightaway Bozic attached himself to the sprint train of a rival squad and followed in their slipstream on the tough, uphill finish. The winners arrived in five hours and forty two minutes.
"I went with Lampre, but I think they worked too hard, too early, and in the last 200m I had no chance to accelerate. The other riders behind me had the advantage and were much too strong for me to catch. Plus it was a full headwind and no place to hide. Still, I'm happy with 4th today, and I'm optimistic that tomorrow will be another chance to do better,' Bozic said.
Astana Pro Team Director Sportif Dmitriy Fofonov said the final sprint was a powerful display of strength by German rider Marcel Kittel.
"Kittel was too powerful in the sprint. Just unbeatable," Fofonov said.
"Today was a long, long day for us. But it was altogether better than yesterday. We had some rain in the race, and the road was dirty and caused Egor Silin to fall. He got up and back on the bike, and he's okay, nothing is wrong. But after losing Seeldraeyers yesterday it's always a little bit nervous," Fofonov said.