A look ahead to the racing route at the 2017 Paris-Nice (March 5-12)
The route of Paris-Nice 2017 has been revealed, including an individual time trial with a steep finish at Mont Brouilly, and a summit finish at the highest road ever tackled in the race’s 75-year history.
The race will take place over eight stages, starting just outside Paris in Bois-d’Arcy on March 5, and finishing in Nice on March 12.
Full details of some stages are still to be announced, but expect the opening three stages to be generally flat, with the sprinters battling it out for the leader’s yellow jersey.
The first stage of consequence in the overall context of the race should be stage four, a 14.5km individual time trial from Beaujeu to Mont Brouilly.
Although mostly on flat and rolling roads, the stage finishes with a 3km climb averaging 7.7 per cent, and a final kilometre of almost 10 per cent.
The only thing that might worry race organisers is that last year’s Mont Brouilly road stage was cancelled due to heavy snow.
From there the riders will tackle a flat fifth stage to Bourg-de-Péage, before the tricky stage six into Fayence.
This stage features no fewer than six categorised climbs, with a finish on the Mur de Fayence, a steep 1.3km climb to complete a similar stage to the one won by Carlos Betancur in 2014, setting up his overall victory.
The following day sees Paris-Nice tackle the highest summit finish in its 75-year history, the 1,678m high Col de la Couillole.
This long 15.7km climb, which averages slightly over seven per cent, comes at the end of a 177km stage that also includes the 7.5km and 7.2 per cent Col Saint-Martin – La Colmiane.
If that doesn’t decide the race, then the final stage, which both starts and finishes in Nice, offers plenty of opportunities for the lead to change hand.
Featuring five categorised climbs over just 115.5km, the stage naturally includes the Col d’Èze just 15km from the finish.
Last year Geraint Thomas only sealed his overall victory in the race with a frantic descent off the the final climb, so we’ll be hoping for similar excitement in 2017.
The only major change to the race finale will be that, as a sign of respect to the victims of the 2016 Nice terrorist attack, there will be no stage finish on the Promenade des Anglais.
Paris-Nice route 2017
Sunday March 5, Stage 1: Bois-d’Arcy > Bois-d’Arcy, 148.5 km
Monday March 6, Stage 2: Rochefort-en-Yvelines > Amilly, 192.5 km
Tuesday March 7, Stage 3 Chablis > Chalon-sur-Saône, 190 km
Wednesday March 8, Stage 4: Beaujeu >Mont-Brouilly, 14.5 km (ITT)
Thursday March 9, Stage 5: Quincié-en-Beaujolais > Bourg-de-Péage, 199.5 km
Friday March 10, Stage 6: Aubagne > Fayence, 192 km
Saturday March 11, Stage 7: Nice > Col de la Couillole, 177 km
Sunday March 12, Stage 8: Nice > Nice, 115.5 km