Opportunities can be seized anywhere and at any time throughout the race.
Australia, Qatar, Langkawi, California: every year, for more than seventy years, riders scattered around the world make their way back to Europe for Paris-Nice, the first big event of the cycling season.
The particularity of this 65th edition of the competition is that it will loop around the Massif Central from the West. Hence, after the Start from the Hauts-de-Seine and the traditional and appreciated Prologue in Issy-les-Moulineaux, we will head due south until we reach Limoges, a traditional stopping place on the Tour de France but a new stage on Paris-Nice. We will then travel eastwards, towards the Côte d'Azur.
In theory, the profiles of four stages in particular will provide the contenders for final victory with opportunity for action. These are concentrated, manifestly, in the second part of the competition. The final in Mende will be particularly testing. Indeed, in order to satisfy their ambitions, declared or concealed, all riders must sustain careful efforts on the extremely selective route which will lead us to the top of the côte de la Croix-Neuve where Christophe Moreau triumphed during the unique edition of the Tour du Languedoc Roussillon. Seconds gleaned on these steep slopes, just before the airfield where Laurent Jalabert claimed victory so magnificently on a legendary 14th of July, will most certainly be worth their weight in gold a few days later on the Promenade des Anglais.
However, one of the attractions of the “Race to the Sun” is that its final outcome can be determined anywhere: in the Eure-et-Loir or the Indre, the Cantal or the Alpes de Haute-Provence, where, incidentally, we will renew with the great tradition of Manosque, such a great part of the success of Paris-Nice until the early 70s. Opportunities can be seized anywhere and at any time throughout the race, particularly if we consider that in the last three editions of the event a maximum of fifteen seconds separated the winner from the runner-up after eight days of racing!