Paris-Nice to finish with mountain time trial

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Christian Prudhomme has promised “suspense right to the end” after unveiling the 2012 Paris-Nice route, which will finish with a 9.5km mountain time trial on the Col d’Eze.

The eight-stage Race to the Sun, on March 4-11, is bookended with individual time trials, starting with a 9.4km test in Saint-Remy-les-Chevreuse, west of Paris, before the final race against the clock.

The fresh route is set to suit a rider in the mould of Omega Pharma-Quickstep’s Levi Leipheimer of Team Sky’s Chris Froome, while Andy and Frank Schleck (Radioshack-Nissan-Trek), Janez Brajkovic (Astana), Tejay Van Garderen (BMC), Thomas Voeckler and Pierre Rolland (both Europcar), Luis-Leon Sanchez (Rabobank) and Ivan Basso (Liquigas) are also set to compete for the title.

“This route should guarantee suspense right to the end,” said race organiser Prudhomme, who is also race director of the Tour de France.

The undulating roads of the Massif Central should provide breakaway rider with the opportunity to gain time, while stage five finishes with a steep 3 km climb to the finish in Mende, previously used on the 12th stage of the 2012 Tour de France in 2010, when Joaquin Rodriguez outlasted Alberto Contador.

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2012 Paris-Nice route

March 4 – Stage 1 – Dampierre-en-Yvelines – Saint-Rémy-lès-Chevreuse TT – 9.4km
March 5 – Stage 2 – Mantes-la-Jolie  – Orléans – 185km
March 6 – Stage 3 – Vierzon – Lac de Vassivière – 194km
March 7 – Stage 4 – Brive-la-Gaillarde – Rodez – 183km
March 8 – Stage 5 – Onet-le-Chateau – Mende – 178km
March 9 – Stage 6 – Suze-la-Rousse – Sisteron – 176.5km
March 10 – Stage 7 – Sisteron – Nice – 220 km
March 11 – Stage 8 – Nice – Col d’Èze TT – 9.6 km

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