2011 Paris-Nice route unveiled

Tuesday, 1 February 2011

The route had leaked out but today sees official confirmation of the Paris-Nice stages, starting on Sunday 6 March without a short prologue but a road stage instead.

The 2011 “race to the sun” is also an edition with other differences, notably featuring a 27km time trial across the rolling hills of Provence.

Stage 5 to Vernoux en Vivarais features the Col de la Mure, almost 8km at 8% and a certain selection but the finish is not on the summit, rather a short descent and then a climb to Vernoux, perhaps allowing lesser climbers to get back on, especially the time trial specialists who will appreciate the following day’s stage. The two final stages are classic fare, featuring hills, with Stage 7 using a finishing circuit that should favour a powerful rider like Peter Sagan before the quintessential stage to Nice via the Col d’Eze.

In summary, if the Grand Tours favour specialist climbers, this race leans more towards all-rounders with the ability to time trial. Think Kloeden, Vinokourov or Evans rather than Gesink or Ricco. But we’ll see. As ever the weather will play its part, last year’s edition saw snow shorten the stages, crosswinds slice the bunch apart and icy conditions meant “wardrobe strategy” even played its part.

Photo: Velochrono.fr

Anonymous February 1, 2011 at 1:54 pm

Gesink is no slouch in a time trial.

TheInnerRing February 1, 2011 at 1:58 pm

Sure, but his speciality is a big attack on the hills. For example, Gesink has done 19 time trials against Evans but only beaten Evans twice and then Evans rested and the other was a disaster team time trial for Lotto in Montpellier during the 2009 Tour de France.

Carl February 1, 2011 at 2:56 pm

The format is usually a prologue instead of a big timed trial. I am be looking forward.

Champs February 1, 2011 at 3:23 pm

I certainly welcome a stage race favoring the all-rounders. It's the mountain stages we love, but the winner of the race needs to be more than a simple W/kg calculation.

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