In 2017 Paris-Nice opens with three chances for the sprinters. Stage 1 is a criterium with both start and finish in Bois d’Arcy. As the finale takes in a short uphill section this one is perfect for the likes of Michael Matthews and John Degenkolb. stage 2 runs on an entirely flat route from Rochefort-en-Yvelines to Amilly, while stage 3 travels from wine mecca Chablis to Chalon-sur-Saône – also on flat roads.
After the first three days the race becomes more GC-oriented with an uphill time trial on Mont Brouilly. The route totals 14.5 kilometres with the last kilometres the toughest. Mont Brouilly is a 3 kilometres climb at 7.7% with the steepest section of 25% in the final 500 metres.
At 199.5 kilometres, stage 5 is the longest in the 2017 edition of Paris-Nice. Chances are it will be up to the fast men again in arrival place Bourg de Péage. The route features some hills, but mostly in the first half.
Stage 6 takes in a hilly parcours before an arrival in Fayence, where Carlos Betancur took the win in 2014, thus laying the groundwork for his overall victory that year. The route features six categorised climbs to finish after a punchy 1.3 kilometres climb.
Stage 7 travels to a summit finish at Col de la Couillole, located at an elevation of 1,678 metres. To get there the riders have to climb 16 kilometres at 7.3%. Before arriving at the foot of the Couillole the route takes in the Col de Saint-Martin, which is a 7.5 kilometres toil at 7.1%.
In essence, the final stage is similar to last year’s, although the route is shorter (only 115.5 kilometres). After starting out in Nice the riders face the climbs up Côte de Levens, Côte de Châteauneuf, Col de Calaison, Côte de Peille and Col d’Èze. The last summit is crested with 15 kilometres remaining before the run-in to Nice is going to decide on the winner.
Geraint Thomas is title holder. In 2016 he held off Alberto Contador, who tirelessly attacked in the last stage, by a margin of just 4 seconds. If we see a similar scenario unfold in 2017 we can only be happy as that kind of racing is pure bliss.
Paris-Nice 2017: Route maps, height profiles, and more
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All stages Paris-Nice
Climb details Mount Brouilly
Climb details Col de la Couillole
Climb details Col d’Eze