An exceptional vintage?
January 6 th 2021 - 11:45
- For the 12th year in succession, Paris-Nice will start from the Yvelines department. St Cyr L’Ecole will be the start of this 79th edition after Plaisir a year ago.
- The Paris-Nice peloton will tackle the Colmiane climb for the third time in four years. Simon Yates was first at the top of the ascent in 2018 while Nairo Quintana won last year’s final stage year there as Maximilian Schachmann was crowned overall.
- For the 79th edition of Paris-Nice, Century 21 will sponsor the best young rider’s white jersey. Antargaz also becomes an official partner of Paris-Nice as the sponsor of the most aggressive rider classification.
Since 1933 Paris-Nice has come of age but by remaining faithful to its traditions while bringing in new ideas, the Race to the Sun has remained the reference stage race of the early season. The 2021 vintage will look to the hillsides of Maconnais and Beaujolais for added flavour in an extremely bumpy 4th stage which should be one of the highlights of the edition. “We needed a hard-fought stage early in the race, said race director François Lemarchand. The riders tend to have their habits and it’s our duty to try and unsettle them a little.” The peloton will ride the Hill of Solutré, then will twice climb Mont Brouilly, made famous by Julian Alaphilippe’s time trial victory in 2017, before reaching a tough new finale in Chiroubles with a 7.3-km ascent at 6 pc. In all, the riders will have to swallow 3,500c metres of elevation.
Overall positions, already established by a 14.5-km individual time trial on flat terrain around Gien the day before, should become even clearer before the final weekend around Nice, where the race will return to its traditional playground. The Colmiane pass, in the Valdeblore valley overlooking Nice, is becoming a regular fixture of Paris-Nice after the victories by Simon Yates in 2018 and Nairo Quintana in 2020 and the peloton will have a thought for the populations of the Vesubie, Tinee and Roya valleys, badly hit by storms and landslides last October. “Unfortunately, we cannot go back to the Vesubie valley for now, but we had to return to La Colmiane to pay homage to the population,” said François Lemarchand.
The Brignoles to Biot stage on the Friday is identical to the stage held in 2011 on the same course, with the ascent of Col du Ferrier halfway through, while the short and intense finale in the Nice hinterland on the Sunday, which the riders were forced to shun in 2020, will follow the same route as in 2019, with Côte de Peille and Col d’Eze among the main climbs. Everybody knows how close this last stage can be as the victories by Geraint Thomas in 2016, Sergio Henao in 2017 and Marc Soler in 2018 were all won by margins of under four seconds.
The race starter will be held for 12th time in the Yvelines department, outside Paris, for a Grand Depart in St Cyr l’Ecole, through which the Tour de France rode in September. Like last year – and it will also be the case for the second stage between Oinville-sur-Montcient and Amilly –, weather conditions and especially sidewinds could be damaging and prevent sprinters to have the final say. A bunch sprint looks likely however in the 5th stage in the Rhone Valley between Vienne and Bollene.
- Paris-Nice 2021 stages:
Sunday, March 7th, stage 1: Saint-Cyr-L’École > Saint-Cyr-L’École, 166 km
Monday, March 8th, stage 2: Oinville-sur-Montcient > Amilly, 188 km
Tuesday, March 9th, stage 3: Gien > Gien, 14,4 km (individual time trial)
Wednesday, March 10th, stage 4: Chalon-sur-Saône > Chiroubles, 188 km
Thursday, March 11th, stage 5: Vienne > Bollène, 203 km
Friday, March 12th, stage 6: Brignoles > Biot, 202,5 km
Saturday, March 13th, stage 7: Nice > Valdeblore La Colmiane, 166,5 km
Sunday, March 14th, stage 8: Nice > Nice, 110,5 km
- 23 teams selected:
In accordance with Union Cycliste Internationale rules, the following nineteen UCI WorldTeams are automatically invited to the race:
AG2R Citroën Team (Fra)
Astana – Premier Tech (Kaz)
Bahrain Victorious (Brn)
Bora – Hansgrohe (Ger)
Deceuninck – Quick-Step (Bel)
EF Education – NIPPO (Usa)
Groupama – FDJ (Fra)
Ineos Grenadiers (Gbr)
Intermarché – Wanty – Gobert Matériaux (Bel)
Israel Start-Up Nation (Isr)
Jumbo – Visma (Ned)
Lotto Soudal (Bel)
Movistar Team (Esp)
Team BikeExchange (Aus)
Team DSM (Ger)
Team Qhubeka Assos (Rsa)
Trek – Segafredo (Usa)
UAE Team Emirates (Uae)
Furthermore, the team Alpecin-Fenix, leader in the 2020 classification of UCI ProTeams will take part by right in Paris-Nice 2021.
The organisers have invited the following teams:
B&B Hotels P/B KTM (Fra)
Team Arkéa – Samsic (Fra)
Total Direct Energie (Fra)