Paris-Nice, the second half

    With the sprinter’s stages coming to a close and the mountains looming, Cannondale-Drapac was looking forward to the second half of this year’s Paris-Nice with Davide Formolo at 16th overall, 2:18 down on the race leader, going into the last four stages. Unfortunately, a crash late in stage five took away all general classification hopes for both Formolo and the team.

    STAGE FIVE

    What should have been an easy sprinter’s stage turned into a bit of a frenzy when Davide Formolo crashed 20 kilometers from the finish line as the peloton begun to lift their pace in their rush to the finish line.

    “Davide fell hard in the final, at a moment in which the peloton was already moving fast,” said DS Charly Wegelius. “It took a lot of hard work from the whole team to bring Davide back, but they managed the task just great. Tomorrow is another day.”

    Mike Woods confirmed: “We went into full time trial mode to bring Davide back.”

    Formolo managed to maintain his 16th position in the general classification, 2:18 behidn race leader Julian Alaphilippe (Quick Step Floors), while Kristijan Koren was once again the team’s top finisher on the stage and retained 14th overall.

    STAGE SIX

    A day after his late race crash, Cannondale-Drapac team doctor Phil Stawski noted that Davide Formolo was in good spirits at the start the stage on Friday: “Davide was quite sore this morning from his crash and associated injuries. He loosened up on the trainer and definitely wanted to start the stage.”

    Throughout the the 193.5 kilometer stage that featured six categorized climbs, Formolo realized he wasn’t recovered sufficiently from the crash.

    “On the first climb, the torsion from any effort out of the saddle was quite painful,” Stawski explained. “Without pressure to continue, he decided to withdraw.”

    Stawski feels confident that Formolo will bounce back quickly. He said: “Given the nature of his injuries and where he’s at on the season, it was a good decision. He’ll be training soon and back on form once he has a few days rest and recuperation.”

    Following the stage, Formolo tweeted: “Today I wasn’t good after yesterday’s crash. I’m really sad to DNF. I’m looking forward and ready to fight like always with the team.”

    WEEKEND STAGES

    The team not only lost Formolo on Friday but also Lawson Craddock, and on Saturday, Joe Dombrowski did not take to the start. Cannondale-Drapac went into stage six, the queen stage of the race, with five men left.

    Mike Woods managed a top 20 finish in the excruciating hard stage.

    On stage eight, it was once again Woods who showed his climber’s legs, ending up in a 27-rider lead group along with teammate Tom-Jelte Slagter. When the fight for the general classification opened up, Woods and Slagter had to let the front go, but our Canadian rider managed a 29th place finish, Cannondale-Drapac’s top finisher on the stage.

    “We had a good day today,” Slagter said. “Although we obviously would have liked to see someone finish in the top 10. But with two of our men in the leading group, we did well.

    “Today’s finale was very hard and I think Mike and I finished in a spot which does justice to where we now stand physically,” Slagter added. “We would obviously preferred to do better, but this is the reality.

    “This has been a hard edition of Paris-Nice, because of the weather in the first couple of stages and then having to race full throttle every day after that. This week has been tough on everyone, but I am convinced that we came out of this race stronger.”