He said: "I was just caught out in the wind for a few seconds too long and that was the end of it. I went from thinking I was going to have a great Paris-Nice to thinking, 'Oh no, the boss is going to kill me'."
The 21-man lead group contained yellow jersey holder Bradley Wiggins, who helped build up an unassailable gap of two-and-a-half minutes. Sprinter Tom Boonen took the stage.
Jail for Mets great
BASEBALL: Disgraced ex-New York Mets outfielder Lenny Dykstra, 49, has been sentenced to three years in prison after pleading no contest to car theft and providing a false financial statement.
NBA: Cleveland 100 Utah 109, Toronto 88 Orlando 92, Washington 100 Golden State 120,
Milwaukee 97 Philadelphia 93, Minnesota 95 LA Clippers 94; Chicago 92 Indiana 72; Oklahoma City 95 Dallas 91; Denver 119 Sacramento 116; Portland 86 New Orleans 74.