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"I’m always delighted to start Paris-Nice. I’m always eager to start the season well because the classics come soon after. I like time trials and that’s why I’m confident."

Photo: Sirotti








05.03.2016 @ 22:15 Posted by Emil Axelgaard

The 74th edition of Paris-Nice starts on Sunday with a 6-km prologue in the streets ofConflans Ste Honorine which will already give an indication on the form of the leadingfavourites.



The official start list was published with a total of 175 riders starting Sunday’s prologue. Team Lotto-Soudal will only start with seven riders after sick Marcel Sieberg was forced out. Three former winners are in contention –– Richie Porte (2013, 2015), Alberto Contador (2007, 2010), Luis Leon Sanchez (2009). Twenty-three riders have won at least a stage in the Race to the Sun, the largest haul coming from Tom Boonen, with six past wins. The past stage winners are: Richie Porte, Amael Moinard(BMC), Alexander Kristoff (Katusha), Davide Cimolai (Lampre), Tony Gallopin, Thomas De Gendt, André Greipel (Lotto-Soudal), Michael Matthews, Michael Albasini (Orica-GreenEdge), Alberto Contador, Matteo Tosatto (Tinkoff), Marcel Kittel, Tom Boonen (Etixx-Quick Step), Arthur Vichot(FDJ), Luis Leon Sanchez, Lars Boom, Lieuwe Westra (Astana), Nacer Bouhanni (Cofidis), Tom-JelteSlagter, Andrew Talansky (Cannondale), Sylvain Chavanel, Thomas Voeckler (Direct Energie), Remy Di Gregorio (Delko Marseille Provence).


The Paris-Nice opener in Conflans Ste Honorine is more than just a warm-up stage for a week of racing. The six-kilometre course in the lovely town by the river Seine has what it takes to start sorting the peloton and to play a role in the final decision one week ahead in Nice. Race director FrancoisLemarchand warned the riders against taking this prologue lightly: “It is a town circuit designed to take advantage of the beauty of the river banks for the first two kilometres. Then there is a sharp change of rhythm with a short and hard climb requiring swift recuperation. Because behind it lie four kilometresthat will be a real test of strength and power. It really is a course for in-form riders. In my opinion, there could already be a gap of some 20 seconds between the winner and the tenth-placed rider at the finish. It’s not huge but it’s a gap that will need to be bridged by the riders looking for final victory. And a rider finishing 40th might well consider he has the race lost. I can see Tom Dumoulin win this. Or Contador, why not? It would be a sign he’s in great form.”


BMC team director Yvon Lendaois told that Rohan Dennis, a strong favourite for Sunday’s prologue of Paris-Nice, was in no condition to tale part because of a serious sinusitis.  “Rohan called me to tell me he didn’t feel good and it was soon obvious that in was no condition to compete. It was useless insisting. When you’re sick, you’re sick,” he said. Talking about title-holder Richie Porte, who joined from Sky this season and won the race twice in 2003 and 2015, Ledanois said it was difficult to assess his form. “With Richie, it’s not easy to tell where he stands. I’m not saying he can’t win Paris-Nice. I’m saying that we hired him for the Tour and in the past he left lots of energy in the early season races like Paris-Nice or the Tour of Catalunya. We shifted his schedule a bit.”


Called by, Diect Energie team leader Sylvain Chavanel said he was tackling Paris-Nice with an unchanged motivation 15 years after his first participation in the Race to the Sun. With a win behind him in Etoile de Besseges this season, the veteran French rider reminded he had often done well in Paris-Nice starters: “Last year in Maurepas I finished seventh. I also remember that the year Damien Gaudin won, I finished second in the same second. I’m always delighted to start Paris-Nice. I’m always eager to start the season well because the classics come soon after. I like time trials and that’s why I’m confident. The result is not so important, I mean to spend a good week even if it only starts clicking in the later part of the race.”


The images of the 2016 Paris-Nice will be shown by 28 broadcasters, covering a total of 170 countries. Among them, Colombia will for the first time have live coverage of the race via Caracol TV.



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