The race starts on March 3, Sunday with a pretty short (2.9 k in total), flat but a winding route. The mid section is especially interesting and will most likely be the decider in this very technical prologue .
Last year, after a 9.4 km time-trial, Gustav Larsson took the first yellow jersey thanks to the heavy rain which hampered the late starters; Bradley Wiggins, Cadel Evans and Tony Martin to name a few. Larsson, the Swedish national time trial champion now riding for IAM Cycling, looks more of a favorite this time with most of the elite time-trialists picking Tirreno-Adriatico instead. Still, there are quite some riders that can perform well and with a bit of luck, can clinch a prestigious win in here; Anders Kloden of Radio Shack, Sylvain Chavanel of Omega-Pharma and Brent Bookwalter of BMC, Simon Spilak of Katusha to name a few. Even pure sprinters like Mark Renshaw or Marcel Kittel can score very interesting times if the weather happens to be on their side.
The race will be broadcasted live on Eurosport 2 starting from 15:30 CET and also in a wide range of tv channels across Europe around the same times.
Besides the now “19″ pro tour teams, 4 teams are invited with wildcards: Cofidis, IAM Cycling, Sojasun and Team Europcar.
Bradley Wiggins will not be racing to defend his title, and looks like SKY will be aiming for stage wins with the likes of Richie Porte and Jonathan Tiernan-Locke instead of a solid GC attempt. With the big names of the pelaton missing, by the looks of it it’ll be an open race for the yellow jersey.
Last year’s runner up Luewa Westra is back, but lacking last year’s form so far. Thomas De Gendt will also be riding for Vacansoleil though not sure he is in good shape, which can be said also for Blanco’s Robert Gesink. TJ van Garderen from BMC, Rui Costa of Movistar and FDJ’s Jean-Christophe Peraud should be taken very seriously for the overall classification. Watch for Nacer Bouhanni and Marcel Kittel for the sprints and with 2 stages particularly suitable for breakaway groups, we can expect a stage win from the likes of Simon Gerrans, Tom Boonen, Philippe Gilbert and even the grueling Thomas Voeckler if he has the legs for it.
Paris-Nice, the “race to the sun” will be held between March 3 and 10 this year. It is mostly regarded as the actual start of the cycling season in Europe.
This year’s edition will start from Houilles with a short prolog, an outer suburb of Paris before the pelaton moves south all the way to the Mediterranean. The final stage, a time-trial on a 9.6 km long category-1 climb means that the race for the yellow jersey won’t be settled until the last second.
Despite failing to draw enough attention this year from the TdF contenders (most of them will be in Tirreno-Adriatico instead), Paris-Nice, a 2.HC race in UCI Wold Tour is always considered as a stepping stone before the TdF. “‘If I can win Paris-Nice, I can win the Tour de France’”, said Bradley Wiggins to the media in 2012, after defending his yellow jersey in the uphill time-trial event in Col d’Èze. The same stage will as well be the final stage of this year’s race.
Paris-Nice past winners include Sean Kelly (7), Jacques Anquetil (5), Eddy Merckx (3) and Laurent Jalabert (3). Most recently Alexandre Vinokourov (2), Alberto Contador (2) and Tony Martin claimed the yellow jersey in this season-opener dating back to 1933.
Welcome to the future home of Cyclingen.
Here, you’ll find extensive pre-race and post race info about the World Tour races including all the Grand Tours (Tour de France, Giro Italia and Vuelta Espana) and 1 day classics (Paris-Roubaix, Milan-San Remo, Liege-Bastogne-Liege, etc.)
Most of the important races from the UCI Europe Tour will also get covered including Dwars door Vlaanderen, Tour of Turkey and Giro Del Trentino; and also attracting races like Tour of Oman and Tour of California.