The route is similar to last year’s closing stage, although the distance is shorter. This is due to changes in the first part of the race, with one climb skipped, and the finish is on the Quai des Etats-Unis. The race avoids its habitual final showdown on the Promenade des Anglais in respect of the 86 people who lost their lives in the terror attack of last summer.
Once the flag is dropped the riders race a false flat to Saint-Martin-du-Var before the Côte de Levens kicks in. At the top of the 6.2 kilometres climb at 5.5% the route continues on last year’s parcours. After the passage in the village Levens a drop leads to the foot of the Côte de Chateauneuf, the easiest task of the day with 5.4 kilometres that are averaging 4.4%. The descent brings the Col de Calaïson in its wake – 6.3 kilometes at 4.4%.
The first three passes of the last stage of Paris-Nice are all 2nd category, while the last two climbs are labeled 1st category. And not without reason.
The Côte De Peille is a 6.6 kilometres climb at 6.8%. Two years ago, Tony Gallopin attacked on the slopes of the Peille and soloed to a brilliant victory in the descent.
This time we see exactly the same extended descent, but after the passage in Nice there are around 22 kilometres left to race. The first 7.7 kilometres are a 5.5% climb up the Col d’Eze, which is the habitual last ascent in Paris-Nice history. Last year, Alberto Contador and Richie Porte attacked on these very slopes and a few moments later leader Geraint Thomas was dropped from the chasing group.
Shortly after reaching the top of Col d’Èze the riders turn right for a steep plunge down into the beautiful medieval town of Eze. Once there they turn right again to brave the same descent they ‘explored’ after the Côte De Peille. These roads saw one of the most spectacular finales in the 2016 season. Contador and Porte hooked up with Tim Wellens, the last survivor of the early break. While they had been half a minute ahead of Thomas at the top of the Eze, the Welshman raced the descent of his life and he held on to claim the overall title by 4 seconds.
Time bonuses of 10, 6 and 4 seconds lay waiting on the line. Two intermediate sprints – at kilometre 22.5 and kilometre 102.5, which is in the village of Eze – come with 3, 2 and 1 seconds each.
Paris-Nice 2017 stage 8: Route maps, height profiles, and more
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