Some of the UCI WorldTour’s leading GC contenders will look to bag some early-season bragging rights as Paris-Nice rolls out on Sunday (March 5).
Coupled with Tirreno-Adriatico, which starts three days later on Wednesday (March 8), the two races see the season’s stage racing ramp up to the next level with most of the leading GC contenders split between France and Italy for the next week or so.
Richie Porte (BMC Racing), fresh from his Tour Down Under triumph, leads the Paris-Nice contenders, racing on European roads for the first time this season as he bids for a third overall win in the “Race to the Sun”.
Team Sky’s defending champion Geraint Thomas does not race, but there is still a stellar list of challengers for Porte to contend with, including Alberto Contador (Trek-Segafredo), Romain Bardet (Ag2r-La Mondiale) and Great Britain’s Simon Yates (Orica-Scott).
And with three sprint stages to open this year’s race – there’s no prologue this time out – in-form Marcel Kittel (QuickStep Floors), German champion Andre Greipel (Lotto-Soudal) and Frenchman Nacer Bouhanni (Cofidis) lead the sprinting contenders.
In short, there’s plenty to look forward to at the eight-stage race, which rolls out of Bois-d’Arcy – on the outskirts of Paris – on Sunday.
We’ve picked out some of the key riders and battles…