Paris-Nice - France
Starting in Saint-Saturnin-lès-Avignon, 55km west of Paris, the stage race begins Sunday, March 9th and finishes in - wait for it - Nice, on Sunday March 16th.
Last year Richie Porte (SKY) won the overall classification, but this year with much disapproval (the French version of disappointment) Porte will NOT be starting Paris-Nice tomorrow. He will be racing in Tirrenno Adriatico instead. (Prudhomme unhappy with Sky's withdrawal of Porte for Paris-Nice)
"We find it a cavalier move to withdraw the defending champion just before the start of the race," race director Christian Prudhomme told AFP. I say it is not every day that one can find proper use for the word "cavalier". So who will be racing Paris-Nice? Thomas Geraint is now headlining SKY squad.
Sylvain Chavanel leads I AM Cycling - he won the green jersey in the 2013 Paris-Nice. Both Jacob Tschopp (best climber 2013) and Andrew Talansky (best young 2013) won't be racing Paris-Nice this year - but no one is calling them "cavalier". Teams BMC and Omega Pharma-Quickstep are both bringing a strong group of eight riders. Vincenzo Nibali leads Astana, Rui Costa leads Lampre-Merida, and John Degenkolb leads Giant-Shimano.
Official Startlist of 2014 Paris-Nice (via ProCyclingStats)
|1||Sunday, March 9th||Mantes-la-Jolie > Mantes-la-Jolie||162.5 km|
|2||Monday, March 10th||Rambouillet > Saint-Georges-sur-Baulche||205 km|
|3||Tuesday, March 11th||Toucy > Circuit de Nevers Magny-Cours||180 km|
|4||Wednesday, March 12th||Nevers > Belleville||201.5 km|
|5||Thursday, March 13th||Crêches-sur-Saône > Rive-de-Gier||153 km|
|6||Friday, March 14th||Saint-Saturnin-lès-Avignon > Fayence||221.5 km|
|7||Saturday, March 15th||Mougins > Biot Sophia Antipolis||195.5 km|
|8||Sunday, March 16th||Nice > Nice||128 km|
Here is my pre-race summary: Stage 2 = get moving across the country. Stage 4 = entertaining racing and a reminder of The Triplets of Belleville. Stage 5 = spectacular scenery. Stage 6 = incredible traffic jam for locals. Stage 7 = if the riders don't get lost the motos cameras will give us all motion sickness, but we'll know who will win GC after this stage. Stage 8 = local training ground for plenty of the pros, no real changes in GC, podium decided.
C-Cycling Preview & Favorites
Watch it live online
As always you will be able to find links for watching live online at Steephill.TV Paris-Nice.
Watch the race on Thursday when the scenery will be fantastic. Watch the race on Saturday to really witness who is in good form this season.
|2014 Paris-Nice route map - 8 days of racing across France|
For anyone wanting to watch the other half of the peloton - TirrenoAdriatico is March 12-18th. Racing in Italy will be Richie Porte, Peter Sagan, Alberto Contador, Robert Gesink, Philippe Gilbert, Cadel Evans, Andrew Talansky, Andre Greipel, Rigoberto Uran, Marcel Kittel, Fabian Cancellara, Nicolas Roche and more.
Preliminary Startlist for Tirreno-Adriatico (via ProCyclingStats)
Route and Official Website
Some scenery of Stage 5 - Photos by Karen Rakestraw of Pedal Dancer®