[Article was written before the start of Paris-Nice and has not been updated since.]
Chances are the uphill time trial to Mont-Brouilly and the Queen Stage on the penultimate day will be decisive for the overall win in Paris-Nice 2017. Aspiring victors have to be alert on the hilly routes of stage 6 and stage 8, too.
So, the overall victor has to be a good time trialist and an outstanding climber. Ilnur Zakarin fits the profile. The Russian rider recently finished in second in the Abu Dhabi Tour after being outsprinted by Rui Costa in the Queen Stage. Contador showed good form in the Ruta del Sol, where his compatriot Valverde outperformed him by 1 second. Porte is another major contender for the overall win. The Tasmanian pocketed the Tour Down Under last January and is a two time winner of the Race to the Sun.
Quite a few riders who are still active in the peloton did win the Race to the Sun: Alberto Contador (2007, 2010), Davide Rebellin (2008), Luis León Sánchez (2009), Tony Martin (2011), Richie Porte (2013, 2015), Carlos Betancur (2014) and Geraint Thomas (2016). Besides Rebellin, Betancur and title holder Thomas, all these winners are competing in Paris-Nice 2017.
Favourites Paris-Nice 2017
*** Alberto Contador, Richie Porte, Ilnur Zakarin
** Ion Izagirre,
Romain Bardet, Simon Yates, Daniel Martin, Sergio Henao
* Nicolas Roche, Steven Kruijswijk, Julian Alaphilippe, Tony Gallopin, Jarlinson Pantano