08-15 March 2015
After two months of racing around the world, it’s now time for the first big European race of the season. There is always huge prestige in winning Paris-Nice and even though the line-up isn’t as strong as in the Tirreno-Adriatico, we can expect a big show on the French roads towards the sun.
Unlike last year, Paris-Nice is now back to starting out with a prologue to get an early hierarchy set in the race. The 6.7 km around Maurepas won’t make big time differences between the GC riders but, in a very equal field, every second counts. The following three stages are all made for the sprinters. Stage 4 brings the first big fight between the GC contenders. No less than seven categorized climbs await the riders before taking on the last one up towards the finishing line. Croix de Chaubouret is 10 km long and its average gradient of 6.7 % will make for good show Thursday afternoon. Stage 5 and especially stage 6 are very undulating and might produce a surprise winner. The GC riders will try to save as much energy as possible before the time trial on Col d’Eze on the final day of racing. Compared to last year’s edition, this one is much more mountainous. Still, unless something truly spectacular happens on stage 4, nothing is settled before the final time trial. You’ll find profiles of all the stages at the bottom of this page.
The way I see it, there are at least five riders with an equal chance of winning Paris-Nice 2015.