A place in the sun
January 8 th 2020 - 12:00
Cycling can be seen as an exercise in style. Some specialize in specific roles, confident in a particular talent that they are able to put to good use in certain domains. Others who aspire to compete for the most prestigious honours must be allrounders. The latter will, once again, face a challenge that meets their expectations on Paris-Nice, from the start of the race in the suburbs of Paris, with a stage where the hills at the end of the race could pack a surprise. No offense to those who can’t stand cold weather, but the more conscientious riders may wish for a Flandrien-style climate at the start of the week. The freshness and gusts blowing during the crossing of the French Department of Loiret on the road to Chalette-sur-Loing, or in the plains of the Department of Cher to join La Châtre, could create ideal conditions to perfect the most delicate situations in strong winds. The Wednesday time-trial in Saint-Amand-Montrond, which is also known in France as the City of Gold will establish an already solid pecking order for the weekend.
Whilst the côte-Saint-André stage warrants serious caution for the teammates of the favourites, the stage on the following day in Vauclause will be even more unpredictable. Before the finish in Apt, a final 50 km circuit could scatter the field and jeopardize some riders’ positions in the GC. Those who come up short in this exercise will struggle on the final two stages, where the riders will be thinking of the upcoming Tour de France. The climb of the col de la Colmiane, where Simon Yates took the honours in 2018, will in fact be the first major challenge of the 2020 Grande Boucle, so each contender will have the motivation to find their bearings. However, the scenario, which went the way of Marc Soler two years ago, will dampen the enthusiasm of the yellow jersey. While the final stage has been completely changed, its potential remains the same. The climbs up the col de Porte, then the côte de Châteauneuf and côte d’Aspremont, will put the podium contenders in an awkward position. The final finish line, which will for the first time be in front of the Allianz Riviera, will be preceded by a winding descent where getting the trajectories right could be decisive.
-> Paris-Nice 2020 stages
Sunday, March 8th, stage 1: Plaisir > Plaisir, 154 km
Monday, March 9th, stage 2: Chevreuse > Chalette-sur-Loing, 166,5 km
Tuesday, March 10th, stage 3: Chalette-sur-Loing > La Châtre, 212,5 km
Wednesday, March 11th, stage 4: Saint-Amand-Montrond > Saint-Amand-Montrond, 15,1 km (individual time trial)
Thursday, March 12th, stage 5: Gannat > La Côte-Saint-André, 227 km
Friday, March 13th, stage 6: Sorgues > Apt, 160,5 km
Saturday, March 14th, stage 7: Nice > Valdeblore La Colmiane, 166,5 km
Sunday, March 15th, stage 8: Nice > Nice, 113,5 km