A balanced menu for a 90th anniversary
January 5 th 2023 - 12:13
- For the 14th consecutive year, Paris-Nice will start from the Yvelines department. La Verrière takes over from Mantes-la-Ville where the race started last year.
- A team time trial (32.2 km in Dampierre-en-Burly) is on the race menu for the first time in 30 years.
- Paris-Nice returns to its highest summit, the Col de la Couillole (1,678m), six years after Richie Porte won the stage there in 2017 while Sergio Henao seized the overall lead.
- The 6.7km, 7.1% climb to La Loge des Gardes in the Allier region, the closest winter sports resort to Paris, is unprecedented.
For twenty-three years now, nearly a quarter of its existence, François Lemarchand – with the helping hand of Yannick Talabardon – has designed the race signalling the return of spring – Paris-Nice. He certainly put his stamp on the first major stage race of the cycling calendar. And this personal touch is obviously to be found in the course of this special edition as Paris-Nice celebrates its 90th anniversary this year. It can be summed up in two words: variety and balance. “In the twenty years since I took over the management of Paris-Nice from Laurent Fignon, the sporting level has risen considerably. We had to find suitable playing fields for a new generation of riders,” the race director said.
The Race to the Sun, once seen as a preparation race for classics of Grand Tours, has become a major objective crowning versatile riders, as was the case for Primoz Roglic last year. “My objective is to design an all-round course for an all-round rider,” François Lemarchand explained. As a result, the contenders to take over from Primoz Roglic – who is expected to leave his team leader spot on this Paris-Nice to last year’s Tour de France champion Jonas Vingegaard – have much to look forward to. There will be something for everyone from the start in La Verrière on Sunday 5 March to the finish on the Promenade des Anglais a week later.
The big novelty of this edition is the return of a team time trial, thirty years after an ONCE team victory in 1993 in Roanne. The decision was imposed by the terrain in Dampierre-en-Burly, which was perfectly suited for such an effort, but also by the desire to do something different: instead of being taken on the third or fourth finishing rider, the times in this TTT will be registered on the first rider of each team across the line. This should force each team to adopt the best strategy to lead out their leader in the final stretch, which is not unlike team sprint events on the track. The innovation should also stop a whole team sweeping the top GC standings, while the hierarchy is likely to be reshuffled the next day, when the peloton will change gear to tackle a new climb.
La Loge des Gardes, in the Allier department, is probably the closest winter sports resort to Paris (390 km) and the climb leading to it is certainly the hardest within this radius around the French capital. With its 6,7 km length and its 7,1% average slope, this very promising climb should sort out the general classification ahead of the weekend’s showdown.
The main course of this 81st Race to the Sun will be on Saturday’s menu with Col de la Couillole, at the top of which Richie Porte won in 2017 while Sergio Henao took the leader's jersey. At an altitude of 1,678 m, the pass is still the highest one ever climbed in Paris-Nice and it could once again crown the future winner, unless the Sunday finale on the heights of Nice, via Col d'Eze, offers once again a breathtaking suspense, forcing the leaders to rely on their best support to triumph on the Promenade des Anglais.
Sprinters and aggressive finishers have not been forgotten. Depending on the race conditions, the first could find suitable terrain – unless there are echelons – in the first two stages finishing in La Verrière and Fontainebleau, but also in stage 5, which ends in Saint-Paul-Trois-Châteaux. Breakaway specialists, who can set their sights on the Loge des Gardes, will be particularly spoiled on Friday between Tourves and La Colle-sur-Loup, a stage with no lull and an elevation of 2,750 m, a perfect foretaste of the weekend ahead.
Paris-Nice 2023 stages
Sunday, March 5th, stage 1: La Verrière > La Verrière, 169,4 km
Monday, March 6th, stage 2: Bazainville > Fontainebleau, 163,7 km
Tuesday, March 7th, stage 3: Dampierre-en-Burly > Dampierre-en-Burly (T.T.T), 32,2 km Wednesday, March 8th, stage 4: Saint-Amand-Montrond > La Loge des Gardes, 164,7 km Thursday, March 9th, stage 5: Saint-Symphorien-sur-Coise > Saint-Paul-Trois-Châteaux, 212,4 km
Friday, March 10th, stage 6: Tourves > La-Colle-sur-Loup, 197,4 km
Saturday, March 11st, stage 7: Nice > Col de la Couillole, 142,9 km
Sunday, March 12nd, stage 8: Nice > Nice, 118,4 km
22 teams selected
In accordance with Union Cycliste Internationale rules, the following eighteen UCI WorldTeams are automatically invited to the race:
AG2R Citroën Team (Fra)
Astana Qazaqstan Team (Kaz)
Bahrain Victorious (Brn)
Bora – Hansgrohe (Ger)
EF Education – Easypost (Usa)
Groupama – FDJ (Fra)
INEOS Grenadiers (Gbr)
Intermarché – Circus – Wanty (Bel)
Movistar Team (Esp)
Soudal Quick-Step (Bel)
Team Jayco AlUla (Aus)
Team Arkea – Samsic (Fra)
Team DSM (Ned)
Trek – Segafredo (Usa)
UAE Team Emirates (Uae)
Furthermore, the first two teams in the 2022 classification of UCI ProTeams will take part by right in Paris-Nice 2023:
Lotto Dstny (Bel)
The organisers have invited the following teams:
Israel – Premier Tech (Isr)
Uno-X Pro Cycling Team (Nor)