A look ahead to the racing route at the 2016 Paris-Nice (March 6-13)
The 74th edition of Paris-Nice will feature another gruelling seven stage route for the riders in March 2016, including a visit to the slopes of the legendary Tour de France climb, Mont Ventoux.
While riders won’t have to suffer a summit finish on Ventoux as they will in the 2016 Tour, they will ride the lower slopes up to Chalet Reynard on mountainous stage five, before a summit finish beckons in La Madone d’Utelle the following day.
There won’t be an easy finish to the race in Nice either on stage seven, with six categorised climbs on the 141km route to Nice’s Promenade des Anglais, that could see the GC contenders battle it out for the overall.
While it’s not yet known whether defending champion Richie Porte will return with his new team BMC on March 6 to defend his title, anyone who has eyes on the Race to the Sun title will navigate a tricky opening few days as well.
A 6.1km prologue kicks it all off in Confians-Sainte-Honorine, the only individual time trial of the race, before riders will tackle Tro Bro Léon esque terrain on the way to the finish of stage two in Vendôme.
Stage three will give the puncheurs an incentive to tackle the race, with the uphill finish to Mont Brouilly after 165.5km of riding likely to suit.
But the biggest action is certainly likely to come down to the final few stages, where riders will be hoping to take the first major victory of the European season.
Paris-Nice route 2016 (March 6 – March 13):
Sunday, March 6, prologue: Conflans-Sainte-Honorine, 6.1 km (ITT)
Monday, March 7, Stage 1: Condé-sur-Vesgre > Vendôme, 195 km
Tuesday, March 8, Stage 2: Contres > Commentry, 214 km
Wednesday, March 9, Stage 3: Cusset > Mont Brouilly, 165.5 km
Thursday, March 10, Stage 4: Juliénas > Romans-sur-Isère, 193.5 km
Friday, March 11, Stage 5: Saint-Paul-Trois-Châteaux > Salon-de-Provence, 198 km
Saturday, March 12, Stage 6: Nice > La Madone d’Utelle, 177 km
Sunday, March 13, Stage 7: Nice > Nice, 141 km
Paris-Nice 2015 route
The 2015 edition of Paris-Nice kicks off on Sunday, March 8, and winds its way south through France to the city of Nice on the Mediterranean coast, finishing on Sunday March 15.
Individual time trials bookend this prestigious French WorldTour race, starting with a short 6.7-kilometre prologue in Maurepas and concluding with a 9.7-kilometre uphill test against the clock from Nice to Col d’Èze.
In between, there are flat stages, hilly stages and mountains to tackle. Paris-Nice has everything.
Prologue, Sunday March 8
Maurepas to Maurepas, 6.7km individual time trial
A short, flat test against the clock will get the riders warmed up and ready for the week ahead. It’s a relatively technical route around Maurepas with several tight turns, so bike handling skills will come to the fore as much as pure power.
Stage one, Monday March 9
Saint-Rémy-lès-Chevreuse to Contres, 196.5km
After the opening prologue, the riders tackle a relatively flat stage – although the day does kick off with a third-category climb out of Saint-Rémy-lès-Chevreuse to provide a launchpad for the day’s ultimately doomed escape group. Expect a bunch sprint finish in Contres.
Stage two, Tuesday March 10
ZooParc de Beauval – Saint-Aignan to Saint-Amand-Montrond, 172km
It’s another day for the sprinters, with the flat stage profile only broken by the third category Cote de la Tour around 40km from the finish line.
Stage three, Wednesday March 11
Saint-Amand-Montrond to Saint-Pourçain-sur-Sioule, 179km
The terrain gets noticeably hillier on stage three, offering up three third category climbs along its 179km route. The day will be one for a breakaway, but there’s not much stopping them getting caught by the sprinters’ teams in the finale, in what looks likely to be the last stage win opportunity of the race for the pure fastmen.
Stage four, Thursday March 12
Varennes-sur-Allier to Croix de Chaubouret, 204km
No less that eight categorised climbs are included in a leg-sapping day’s riding on the longest stage of the race as it hits the Loire region. After the legs have been softened up, it’s the final climb to the line on the Col de la Croix de Chaubouret that will provide the flashpoint for the overall contenders to show their hand as it ascends at an average of 6.7 per cent over 10 kilometres. Expect a major GC shake-up.
Stage five, Friday March 13
Saint-Étienne to Rasteau, 192.5km
Stage five starts just as stage four concluded: with a first category climb. It’s straight up the Col del la Republique for the peloton before a long descent and a lumpy remainder of the day into Rasteau. There’s a slight kick up to the finish line to complete the stage, which could see an escape group prevail.
Stage six, Saturday March 14
Vence to Nice, 180.5km
The penultimate stage is a real climbing fest, with three second category and three first category climbs to negotiate. The final climb of Cote de Peille is 25km from the finish line in Nice, and it will take a daring descent for any escapees to keep chasers at bay. It may be too much for the overall contenders to really battle it out, as they will be mindful of the following day’s decisive test against the clock.
Stage seven, Sunday March 15
Nice to Col d’Èze, 9.5km individual time trial
The official profile of the final stage doesn’t really do it justice – it’s all uphill. Starting just above sea level in Nice, the stage climbs steadily all the way to Col d’Èze – where the riders passed through the day before – at an average of 4.7 per cent. The opening two kilometres are the steepest, touching over 8 per cent. Anyone who starts too fast may find themselves with little left in the legs for later.
Paris-Nice 2014 route revealed
The route of the 2014 edition of Paris-Nice was unveiled by race director Christian Prudhomme on Tuesday morning – and it’s the longest edition of the race since 1968.
This year’s 72nd edition runs from March 9 to 16 and will not feature an individual time trial stage nor a high mountain finish. It opens up the possibility of a win from a larger pool of riders, not just time trial specialists and/or climbers. Organiser ASO is billing it as a ‘race for the daring’.
Despite no true mountain finishes, stage four finishes in Belleville directly after the steep ascent of Côte du Mont-Brouilly, which runs for three kilometres at an average of 8.4 per cent, with some sections at 25 per cent. Enough to open up some gaps and shake up the general classification.
Stages five, seven and eight are peppered with climbs, with the latter two both featuring two first category climbs apiece. All three feature fairly lengthy descents before the finish.
ASO announced at the end of January that Bretagne–Séché Environnement (France), Cofidis, Solutions Crédits (France) and IAM Cycling (Switzerland) had been given wildcard places at the race, joining the 18 WorldTour teams.
The 2013 edition of Paris-Nice was won by Richie Porte (Sky), who took the race lead after winning that race’s stage five mountain finish and cemented overall victory with a win in the final time trial.
ASO confirmed that Porte will return to the race in 2014, joined on the start line by world champion Rui Costa (Lampre-Merida), Tejay van Garderen (BMC Racing), Sylvain Chavanel (IAM Cycling) and John Degenkolb (Giant-Shimano).
Paris-Nice 2014: Stages
Sunday March 9, stage one, Mantes-la-Jolie to Mantes-la-Jolie, 162.5 km
Monday March 10, stage two, Rambouillet to Saint-Georges-sur-Baulche, 205 km
Tuesday March 11, stage three, Toucy to Circuit de Nevers Magny-Cours, 180 km
Wednesday March 12, stage four, Nevers to Belleville, 201.5 km
Thursday March 13, stage five, Crêches-sur-Saône to Rive-de-Gier, 152.5 km
Friday March 14, stage six, Saint-Saturnin-lès-Avignon to Fayence, 221.5 km
Saturday March 15, stage seven, Mougins to Biot Sophia Antipolis, 195.5 km
Sunday March 16, stage eight, Nice to Nice, 128 km
Paris-Nice 2014: Teams
AG2R La Mondiale (Fra)
Astana Pro Team (Kaz)
Belkin Pro Cycling Team (Ned)
BMC Racing Team (USA)
Bretagne – Séché Environnement (Fra)
Cofidis, Solutions Crédits (Fra)
Garmin Sharp (USA)
IAM Cycling (Sui)
Lotto Belisol (Bel)
Movistar Team (Esp)
Omega Pharma – Quick Step Cycling Team (Bel)
Orica – GreenEDGE (Aus)
Team Europcar (Fra)
Team Giant – Shimano (Ned)
Team Katusha (Rus)
Team Sky (Gbr)
Tinkoff Saxo (Rus)
Trek Factory Racing (USA)