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"Paris-Nice is my first real goal. I finished tenth in GC last year. The course suited me perfectly and if I had been more lucky, I would have finished on place five."

Photo: Lotto Soudal

ADAM HANSEN

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ANDRÉ GREIPEL

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GREGORY HENDERSON

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LOTTO SOUDAL

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MARCEL SIEBERG

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PARIS - NICE

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THOMAS DE GENDT

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TIM WELLENS

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TONY GALLOPIN

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05.03.2015 @ 18:57 Posted by Emil Axelgaard

Paris-Nice is the second stage race at WorldTour level of the season. The ‘Race to the sun’ starts 8th March with a prologue. Paris-Nice ends with a climb time trial on Sunday 15th March. Last year’s edition was won by Carlos Betancur, Tony Gallopin finished tenth in the GC.

 

 

A flat 6.7 kilometres long prologue in Maurepas will cause minimal differences at day one. It will be looking out for the wind, causing spectacle the three following flat stages. If the wind isn’t strong enough and the peloton stays together, one can expect bunch sprints in Contres, Saint-Amand-Montrond and Saint-Pourçain-sur-Sioule. The fifth stage is the queen stage, with the finish line drawn uphill. Eight climbs along the route will make sure the favourites will make the difference.  The final climb, the Croix de Chaubouret, is a ten kilometres long first category climb with an average gradient of 6.7%.

 

The peloton has an easier day on Friday. Although the Col de la République has to be covered pretty soon. After the climb the stage is rather flat. The last kilometre is quite hard with an average gradient of 4.4 %. The penultimate stage contains a lot of climbs again. Six climbs, among those three first category climbs, should decimate the peloton. At the top of the last climb there are still 27 kilometres to descend to the finish line in Nice. Anything is possible with a 9.5 kilometre climb time trial on the final day. At the Col d’Èze, a first category climb, the riders will be striving for the GC win.

 

‘The first goal’, that’s how Tony Gallopin describes Paris-Nice. It’s not the main goal, but still he hopes to give a first demonstration. How that will be, will become clear in the ‘Race to the Sun’, but as a Frenchman and one of the leaders in the Lotto Soudal team he can’t wait until it’s

 

“The preparation went smoothly," he said. "The past three years I rode the Tour of Oman, now I rode the Tour of Algarve, a tough stage race with many race kilometres in good weather; ideal.

 

"Paris-Nice is my first real goal. I finished tenth in GC last year. The course suited me perfectly and if I had been more lucky, I would have finished on place five. This year there is a summit finish and the time trial to the Col d’Eze on the final day. You can’t compare these two editions.

 

“I know the route well. The first two stages take place in my home region. I also know the stages of the final weekend pretty well, because I often go training in that area. We have a top sprinter in the team with André Greipel. For a team it’s nice to have riders for each types of stages, that will definitely be the case in this Paris-Nice. The GC will probably be determined in the stage on Thursday to the Croix de Chaubouret and during the two days in Nice.”

 

Lotto Soudal sports director Herman Frison gives his preview of Paris-Nice as well.

 

“Tony finished tenth in the overall standings last year," he said. "Hopefully we can do better this year. André Greipel can strive for the win in the three flat stages. He missed the opening weekend in Flanders but he resumed his training on Monday. Now we have got to make sure he doesn’t get ill again and that he has recovered sufficiently for Paris-Nice. His shape was good, he proved that in the Tour of Algarve. If he could raise his form to a next level it would be all right. The prologue isn’t important for him, so his Paris-Nice will start on Monday.

 

 

“Tim Wellens and Tony Gallopin are two riders who can strive for a good GC. If they ride a decent prologue, it will be important not to be surprised in the flat stages. If the wind is advantageous the peloton could split. Hopefully both of them won’t lose time so they can maintain a good position in the overall standings. We have Tim and Tony to go to the battle. If one of them loses time, we still got the other one. Towards the end the race gets harder with two mountain stages and a climb time trial. These are stages which are feasible for our leading men. I’m looking forward to it.”

 

Selection Lotto Soudal:

Lars Bak, Thomas De Gendt, Tony Gallopin, André Greipel, Adam Hansen, Greg Henderson, Marcel Sieberg and Tim Wellens.

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