After all the hullabaloo, arguments and tantrums, Paris-Nice is finally set to roll down the start ramp this Sunday. The seven stage, 1,260km race that should have been the ProTour opener will take place with all but one ProTour team;

Organisers ASO have invited Astana, despite their initial protests when the Kazakh team were granted a ProTour licence, while Agritubel take the 20th spot instead of Swedish registered team

Unibet are threatening legal action for their non-inclusion. Having invested ?32 million to become part of the ProTour, (as well as being one of the most successful teams this year) they have become the whipping boys in a fracas that has little to do with them.

ASO president Patrice Clerc has said that the French law banning gambling companies from advertising on French soil has forced their hand, although this wasn?t an issue last year when Unibet rode ASO?s races.

Now a temporary agreement has been reached, the riders can do what they want to do and race their bikes, and the fans can enjoy watching them. For British fans, the prologue will hold special interest as David Millar (Saunier Duval) is one of the favourites for the 4.7km route, giving a glimpse of what we can expect at the Tour prologue in London this July. Bradley Wiggins (Cofidis) will now not ride the event, instead concentrating on his preparations for the Track World Championships in Majorca at the end of March.

Roger Hammond (T-Mobile) also rides and will be looking to get in to moves as he builds up to his Classics campaign this April.

Thursday?s stage to Mende looks to be the decisive one, finishing at 1,055m at the top of La Croix-Neuve. Saturday?s stage to Cannes looks like another tough stage with nine categorised climbs on the parcours.

Cycling Weekly and will be bringing you updates on the action throughout the race.

You can see the start list by clicking here.


Stage Date To From Length
Prologue Sunday March 11 Issy-les-Moulineaux Issy-les-Moulineaux 4.7km
One Monday March 12 Cloyes-sur-le-Loir Buzançais 186km
Two Tuesday March 13 Vatan Limoges 177km
Three Wednesday March 14 Limoges Maurs 215.5km
Four Thursday March 15 Maurs Mende 169.5km
Five Friday March 16 Sorgues Manosque 178km
Six Saturday March 17 Brignoles Cannes 200km
Seven Sunday March 18 Nice Nice 129.5km

Total distance: 1,260.2km

Bouygues Telecom
Caisse d’Epargne
Credit Agricole
Discovery Channel
Francaise des Jeux
Quick Step-Innergetic
Saunier Duval-Prodir
Team CSC
Team Milram

Official Paris-Nice site:

Sunday March 11, British Eurosport, 4-5pm, prologue
Monday March 12, British Eurosport, 2-3.45pm, stage one LIVE
Tuesday March 13, British Eurosport, 2-3.45pm, stage two LIVE
Wednesday March 14, British Eurosport, 1-3.30pm, stage three LIVE
Thursday March 15, British Eurosport, 1.30-3pm, stage four LIVE
Friday March 16, British Eurosport, 1.45-3.30pm, stage five LIVE
Saturday March 17, British Eurosport, 12.15-2.15pm, stage six LIVE
Sunday March 18, British Eurosport, 2.30-3.45pm, stage seven LIVE

British Eurosport website:

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