[Underneath article was written before the start of Paris-Nice and has not been updated]
The first time gaps are expected to open up in the time trial on the fourth day of action. Roglic is the most likely rider to deliver a blow on the undulating course of 13.4 kilometres with a punchy climb to the line.
The GC action could intensify on stage 5, which packs in 3,400 metres of climbing, although it does not finish uphill. Yet, compelling racing would result if one of the GC riders opens fire as early as the Col de la Mure. This 7.6 kilometres climb at 8.3% precedes a lumpy finale of 30 kilometres.
The GC action is sure to catch fire on the penultimate day. The route on the run-up to the finale is not very challenging, but the finish climb is something else entirely. The Col de Turini is a 14.9 kilometres toil with an average gradient of 7.3%.
On numerous occasions, Paris-Nice’s fight for the GC was the epitome of ‘every second counts’. Very often, it came down to the dying metres of the last stage. Featuring five climbs, stage 8 is a short race in the mountains above Nice before a downhill finish onto the Promenade des Anglais in Nice. Similar routes have produced breathtaking races in recent years, notably in 2016, 2017 and 2018, when Geraint Thomas, Sergio Henao and Marc Soler won the overall classification with 4 seconds, 2 seconds and 4 seconds, respectively.
The last two editions of Paris-Nice were shortened due to the pandemic, and the race gradually extinguished. Hopefully we’ll see the Race to the Sun ignite in style on the last day of action.
Favourites Paris-Nice 2022
**** Primoz Roglic, João Almeida, Adam Yates
*** Wout van Aert, David Gaudu, Aleksandr Vlasov
** Jack Haig, Wout Poels, Simon Yates, Ion Izagirre
* Maximilian Schachmann, Ben O’Connor, Bauke Mollema