Twenty-two teams have been selected to take part of the 71st edition of Paris-Nice, which will take place from the third to the tenth of March 2013.
The following eighteen teams have been selected in compliance with International Cycling Union rules :
Astana Pro Team (Kaz)
Blanco Pro Cycling Team (Ned)
BMC Racing Team (USA)
Cannondale Pro Cycling (Ita)
Omega Pharma-Quick Step Cycling Team (Bel)
Orica - GreenEDGE (Aus)
Sky Procycling (Gbr)
Vacansoleil-DCM Pro Cycling Team (Ned)
Movistar Team (Esp)
AG2R La Mondiale (Fra)
Euskaltel Euskadi (Esp)
Garmin - Sharp (USA)
Team Argos-Shimano (Ned)
Team Saxo-Tinkoff (Den)
Lotto Belisol (Bel)
RadioShack - Leopard (Lux)
Four other teams, invited by the organizers, will make up the field for the 2013 edition of Paris-Nice :
Cofidis, Solutions Crédits (Fra)
Team Europcar (Fra)
IAM Cycling (Sui)
The Conseil Général of Yvelines and Amaury Sport Organisation extended their Paris-Nice partnership until 2017 this morning. Yvelines has been kicking off the "Race to the Sun" since 2010 and is now set to play host to the world’s cycling elite in the next five editions.
The 70th edition of Paris-Nice ended with a bang yesterday, with Bradley Wiggins prevailing in the final showdown on the slopes of the Col d'Eze, towering over Nice, to take the final honours. The 176-strong peloton had met up one week earlier in Yvelines, on the forested roads of the Chevreuse valley, for the inaugural time trial between Dampierre-en-Yvelines and Saint-Rémy-Lès-Chevreuse, and set off for the Mediterranean from Mantes-la-Jolie the day after.
The President of the Conseil Général of Yvelines, Alain Schmitz, met Amaury Sport Organisation's Manager of Cycling, Christian Prudhomme, this morning in Versailles, where they strengthened the links binding the "Race to the Sun" and Yvelines since 2010 by extending their partnership until 2017. The agreement was signed in the presence of 1980 Paris-Nice champion Gilbert Duclos-Lassalle. Under the terms of the contract, the Conseil Général of Yvelines and ASO chose Yvelines as the backdrop for the Grand Start of Paris-Nice for the next five editions. To make the wait more bearable, the department will get to see the elite of cycling next July, when the last stage of the 2012 Tour de France is due to start in Rambouillet.
Christian Prudhomme: "The last three starts of Paris-Nice, in Monfort l'Amaury (2010), Houdan (2011) and Dampierre-en-Yvelines (2012), were all crowned with success. The Yvelines department boasts varied landscapes and a very rich culture, which makes it an amazing setting for cycling races. I am extremely pleased to continue this adventure with the Conseil Géneral of Yvelines and Paris-Nice for the next five years."
Bradley Wiggins narrowly beat unheralded Lieuwe Westra on Col d'Eze to become the second Briton crowned in Paris-Nice, 45 years after Tom Simpson.
The British time-trial specialist was the arch-favourite on the classic climb overlooking Nice and he fully delivered in 19 minutes and 12 seconds. But his Dutch rival, six seconds adrift at the start, was again astonishingly strong, finishing only two seconds behind the three-times pursuit Olympic champion to finally settle for runner-up spot, eight seconds behind. Alejandro Valverde (MOV) was third overall, 1:10 adrift. As deserved as it was - he kept the yellow jersey for seven days - it was a close call for Wiggins, who had to check a super-strong Vacansoleil team, who won the team classification, three stages and the polka-dot jersey with Frederik Veuchelen.American Tejay Van Garderen (BMC) finished fifth overall and won the young ridr's white jersey.
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Asked about his ambitions in this Paris-Nice, Bradley Wiggins, third last year, insisted on the team spirit which inspired Team Sky since the start of the season.“Give100 per cent everyday, do all the right things, stay out of trouble, ride as a team as we did in Algarve two weeks ago. Just continue that kind of philosophy and that process as a team -- I think that if we do that, we’ll get a result,” he told Reuters.
The official start list was unveiled today, including 176 riders from 22 teams.Entrants include:
Yvon Ledanois took a strong team to the Race to the Sun and has made it one of Movistar’s objectives this season.“We came to win. If someone says they came for preparation, they’re liars. When you come to Paris-Nice, the preparation is over. It would be an insult to the race to say you came to prepare for another,” he told www.letour.fr
Ivan Basso is on his third Paris-Nice mainly to improve his condition.In his two previous participations, the two-times Giro d’Italia champion was not a major contender, finishing 11th for his best result in 2004. He is also ready to help Liquigas team-mate Eros Capecchi, who has ambitions in this edition.
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Alain Gallopin leads a super-strong Radiohack team into this Paris-Nice and is convinced that Andreas Kloeden can at least repeat his performance last year (second) while he does not rule out a strong showing by Andy Schleck.
Even before the riders take to the tarmac, the 2012 edition of Paris-Nice has already been marked by several surprises and new arrivals: the return of Le Coq Sportif to cycling, a time trial in the Chevreuse Valley, etc.
A BRAND NEW YELLOW JERSEY
The grand return of Le Coq Sportif to professional cycling will take place on Monday. The French brand which will be making the Yellow Jersey for the Tour de France this year will also be accompanying ASO on most of the stage races that it organises. Just like the elite riders, the famous Coq, which left Le Tour in 1988, will be starting its season on the roads of the race to the sun. On Paris-Nice, the last photos of a Le Coq Sportif branded leader’s jersey were taken in 1977. For its return to the event, the brand will adorn the torso and sleeves of the leaders for all the race’s individual classifications (yellow jersey, green jersey, polka dot jersey and the white jersey). The design chosen for the new yellow jersey stands out due its purity and a vintage touch added to the neckline: in addition to a blue, white and red seam discretely posed on the nape of the rider’s necks, a shirt-type collar has been added. Special effort has also been ploughed into drawing excellent technical performance from the materials used, providing comfort, efficiency and elegance!
CADETS & JUNIORS ON SIX STAGES
For more than ten years, the Tour de France has been offering cycling clubs the possibility of involving their young members in the stages that pass through their regions. Since last year, this scheme has been extended to all the stage races organised in France by ASO. For the 2012 edition of Paris-Nice, the school holidays mean that it will be possible to welcome cadets and juniors on six stages, with the assistance of 16 clubs and two Young and Junior rider centres of excellence in total. Furthermore, the routes chosen this year have made it possible to increase the distance that the young riders will be able to cover as a curtain raiser to the race, with an average that is now close to 40 km.
PRIDE OF PLACE FOR THE CHEVREUSE VALLEY
For the first time in its history, the race to the sun will start from the Chevreuse Valley, which played host to some of the greatest moments in the history of 20th century cycling. Although the participants in Paris-Nice will only have to cover a distance of 9.6 km in Sunday’s time-trial, between Dampierre-en-Yvelines and Saint-Rémy-lès-Chevreuse they will be following the same roads on which some of the finest riders shone, during the era of the Grand Prix des Nations, considered to be an unofficial time-trial world championship, with more than 140 km on the programme. The finish generally took place in the Chevreuse Valley, notably on the Côte de Châteaufort-en-Yvelines slope, where a monument has been built in honour of Jacques Anquetil, the title record holder (with nine wins). Since the disappearance of the Grand Prix des Nations, the Chevreuse valley has witnessed the passage of Tour de France riders several times during the last stage. More importantly, it is the favourite playground of all the Ile-de-France region’s amateur cyclists, who test their climbing skills on the Côte des Dix-sept Tournants slope, where the first points of the best climber classification will be awarded during the inaugural time-trial on 4th March.
DAILY BROADCASTS ON FRANCE 3
For the second year running, France Télévisions will be giving Paris-Nice pride of place: all the stages will be broadcast live on France 3, starting with the time-trial during a two-hour programme starting at 1.35 PM, which will take place before the broadcast of the six nations rugby match between France and Ireland. On the other stages, viewers in France 3 will be able to follow the last 50 kilometres of the race, with commentary from Thierry Adam and Laurent Jalabert. On the international stage, the images will be broadcast in 170 countries, with fifteen national or continental broadcasters having made the choice to show live broadcasts of Paris-Nice.
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Riders from the Middle East, Australia or even Argentina sometimes have difficulty in convincing themselves that they are taking starter’s orders on the race to the sun.
However, it is indeed the ambience and intensity of major European stage races that they come looking for at the start of March on the Paris-Nice race. This year, the starting point will be located in the Yvelines area, for an inaugural time-trial between Dampierre-en-Yvelines and Saint-Rémy-Lès-Chevreuse. Followers of the race will be awaiting a significant portion of the riders who lit up the last Tour de France: 10 of the first 15 in the general classification have added this race to their calendar and 5 stage winners from last July’s Tour have also notified the organisers that they will be present. The racing line-up speaks for itself and the list of leaders present for Paris-Nice promises an intense confrontation to which we can also add the regular high achievers on this pre-Spring challenge. Tony Martin, who on the French Riviera picked up a convincing and decisive victory in his young career, will be able to count on the support of a solid team, assisted in particular by Levi Leipheimer and Sylvain Chavanel. These first choice allies will be of great use in repressing the competition. The runner-up in 2011, Andreas Klöden, will be riding for the Radioshack-Nissan team with the Schleck brothers, who will be making their first appearance together this season. To start their year on a high, they will be able to gauge themselves against rivals such as Janez Brajkovic, Jean-Christophe Péraud, Tejay Van Garderen, Rein Taaramae, Simon Gerrans, Ivan Basso, former winner Luis-Leon Sanchez, Jérôme Coppel, Christopher Froome or even Pierre Rolland and Thomas Voeckler.
Whilst some observers will see a further nod to the Tour de France with the finish at the Lac de Vassivière lake, the 2012 title is most likely to be won in locations familiar to the race: perhaps in Mende, where the final climb presents the opportunity to create gaps that could pay off when it comes to the crunch. The stages at Sisteron and Nice will remind everyone that the countryside around Nice holds surprises in store. More significantly, Paris-Nice will be reacquainting itself with the tradition of a time-trial climb finishing at the Col d’Ezee pass. This especially athletic exercise has often anointed the victor throughout the race’s history: no less than twenty times, the winner of the final time-trial has also written his name on the roll of honour. Eddy Merckx, Raymond Poulidor, Joop Zoetemelk, Sean Kelly or Stephen Roche have helped to build the reputation of this legendary Paris-Nice climb.
22 teams: the leading riders
GreenEdge Cycling Team: Gerrans (Aus)
Lotto Belisol Team: Bak (Den), Henderson (NZ)
Omega Pharma-Quick Step: Boonen (Bel), Chavanel (Fra), Leipheimer (USA), Martin (Ger)
Team Saxo Bank: Kroon (Hol), Nuyens (Bel)
Euskaltel-Euskadi: Anton (Spa), Sicard (Fra)
Movistar Team: Arroyo, Rojas (Spa)
BMC Racing Team: Van Garderen, Phinney (USA), Hushovd (Nor)
Garmin-Barracuda: Millar (GB), Haussler (Aus) – Le Mevel (Fra)
AG2R La Mondiale: Péraud (Fra), Roche (Irl)
Cofidis, le Crédit en Ligne: Taaramae (Est), Di Grégorio (Fra), Moncoutié (Fra)
FDJ-BigMat: Fédrigo, Jeannesson (Fra)
Saur-Sojasun: Coppel, Hivert, B.Feillu (Fra)
Team Europcar: Rolland, Voeckler (Fra)
Sky Pro Cycling: Froome, Thomas (GB)
RadioShack-Nissan: A.Schleck, F.Schleck (Lux), Klöden (Ger)
Lampre - ISD: Bole (Slo), Cunego (Ita)
Liquigas-Cannondale: Basso (Ita), Szmyd (Pol)
Astana Pro Team: Brajkovic (Slo), Seeldrayers (Bel)
Rabobank Cycling Team: LL. Sanchez (Spa), Renshaw (Aus)
Project 1t4i: Degenkolb, Kittel (Ger)
Vacansoleil-DCM Pro Cycling Team: De Gendt (Hol), R.Feillu (Fra)
Katusha Team: Galimzyanov, Menchov (Rus)
As a major event to start the year for the international elite, Paris-Nice kicks off the European season of major stage races.For the 70th edition of the Race to the Sun, from 4th to 11th March 2012, 22 teams have been selected by the organisers.
Tony Martin became only the fourth German to win Paris-Nice at the end of the 124-kms final stage won in style by French champion Thomas Voeckler.The 25-year-old HTC-Highroad leader beat compatriot Andreas Kloeden (RadioShack), winner of the Race to the Sun 11 years ago, a result which is also a change in generations and a ray of hope for German cycling.