[Article was written before the start of Paris-Nice and has not been updated.]
In 2016, Geraint Thomas won Paris-Nice 4 seconds ahead of Alberto Contador and last edition Sergio Henao outgunned El Pistolero by 2 seconds overall. Which goes to show, every second counts at the Race to the Sun.
Probably, the likes of Julian Alaphilippe are eyeing up the punchy arrival of the 1st stage and its time bonuses, while those kind of riders are likely to strike in the tricky (and punchy) finale of the 6th stage, too. Yet, proper time gaps are to be expected in the hilly time trial and the Queen Stage on the penultimate day of racing. Also, the final stage had a major impact on GC in the last several years.
So, the overall victor has to be a good time trialist and an outstanding climber, while some puncher’s skills could mean extra time bonuses on a number of stages.
Of the riders who are still racing, Sergio Henao (2017), Geraint Thomas (2016), Richie Porte (2015, 2013), Carlos Betancur (2014), Tony Martin (2011), Luis León Sánchez (2009) and Davide Rebellin (2008) won the Race to the Sun in the last decade. Henao and LL Sánchez are the only former winners who are competing in Paris-Nice 2018.
Favourites Paris-Nice 2018
***** Wout Poels, Bauke Mollema, Julian Alaphilippe
**** Tim Wellens, Simon Yates, Ion Izagirre, Sergio Henao
*** Esteban Chaves, Ilnur Zakarin, Daniel Martin, Jakob Fuglsang
** Nicolas Roche, Rui Costa, Tejay van Garderen, Tony Gallopin
* Warren Barguil, Lilian Calmejane, Sam Oomen, Marc Soler