With a little luck the riders should get a first taste of the sun in the 3rd stage. Arrival place Châtel-Guyon is on the same latitude as Lyon.
That said, another viable option is strong winds and pouring rain. The route runs past Saint-Amand-Montrond, which not only is the birthplace of Julian Alaphilippe. Five years ago it was the destination of one of the most gripping echelons marked stages in recent cycling history, the 13th stage of the 2013 Tour de France.
The first 60 kilometres are flat, but then the character of the route changes to undulating. Not steep though, the riders face gradients at approximately 3%. With 17 kilometres to go, they crest a 10 kilometres climb at 3.5% and the finale features a tricky slope of 1.5 kilometres at 4.5%. This could be a good spot for a late attack as the last 1.1 kilometres are on the flat.
Last year, stage 3 of Paris-Nice ran from Chablis to Chalon-sur-Saône. A strong tail wind accounted for a day of smooth sailing, while the eventual bunch sprint was won by Sam Bennett ahead of Alexander Kristoff and John Degenkolb.
The first three riders on the line take time bonuses of 10, 6 and 4 seconds, while the two intermediate sprints (at kilometre 61 and at kilometre 190.5) come with 3, 2 and 1 seconds.
Read also: results/race report 3rd stage 2018 Paris-Nice.
Paris-Nice 2018 stage 3: Route maps, height profiles, and more
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Bourges and Châtel-Guyon at Google Maps