5 12 March, 2.WT, France

Procycling - - Pro­logue -

Is Paris-Nice the per­fect stage race? It just might be so: the jour­ney from the frozen north to balmy south pro­vides a com­pelling nar­ra­tive; the ter­rain varies greatly and the com­pe­ti­tion is tight. This year’s race, the 75th, makes a state­ment with its high­est ever sum­mit fin­ish, the 1,678m Col de la Couil­lole on stage 7. The first three stages are for the sprint­ers, though com­pli­cated by the wind. The GC will take rough shape on the lumpy 14.5km hill TT up Mont Brouilly in Beau­jo­lais coun­try. Stage 6 has six climbs and fin­ishes on the short, steep road to Fayence. The Couil­lole the next day is the cen­tre­piece, though it’s not the hard­est climb in the AlpesMar­itimes. The fi­nal stage is pure Paris-Nice. Five climbs packed into a 115km loop start­ing and fin­ish­ing in Nice.

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