2013 Paris Nice Route

Thursday, 7 February 2013

Paris Nice 2013 route

The route of the 2013 Paris-Nice race has been unveiled and it’s a classic affair with the now regular start in the Yveslines area to the west of Paris and the traditional final Col d’Eze time trial. Along the way the Montagne de Lure summit finish stands out, this the sister mountain of Mont Ventoux.

But as exciting as the course can be, this year’s edition risks being light on star riders with rival Italian race Tirreno-Adriatico attracting all the best riders. Plus since we’re looking at French cycling there’s a nod to a new spat between the French and the UCI plus a look at yesterday’s wild ideas for national teams in the Tour de France.

The Route

P Prologue Sunday 3 March Houilles > Houilles 2.9km
1 Road Monday 4 March Saint-Germain-en-Laye > Nemours 195 km
2 Road Tuesday 5 March Vimory > Cérilly 200.5km
3 Road Wednesday 6 March Châtel-Guyon > Brioude 170.5km
4 Road Thursday 7 March Brioude > Saint-Vallier 199.5km
5 Road Friday 8 March Châteauneuf-du-Pape > La Montagne de Lure 176km
6 Road Saturday 9 March Manosque > Nice 220km
7 TT Sunday 10 March Nice > Col d’Èze 9.6km

A classic fare with a 3km prologue to start. We have sprint stages with Stage 2 offering the final 4km in one unbroken straight section of road. Stage 4 sees the hills arrive with a lumpy finish at the end to reward baroudeurs and give us some clues ahead of the classics. Stage 5 – more below – features a proper summit finish before the race reaches the normally sunny Côte d’Azur and a tough 220km stage on the Saturday. Like last year there’s the final time trial on the Col d’Eze to seal the race.

Montagne de Lure
Paris Nice Montagne de Lure
This is the smaller sister of Mont Ventoux. You might not have heard of it but it’s featured in Paris-Nice before with a stage finish in 2009 won by Alberto Contador. It’s over 13km at 6.6% making it easier than Mont Ventoux but that’s normal given this is coming in mid-March. Like Ventoux the peak, the Signal de Lure, is topped by communications equipment and has a small ski station but everything is on a smaller scale.

Tirreno-Adriatico
Tirreno Adriatico 2013 route
I’ve often questioned why we get two clashing World Tour races because it divides the following, whether the attendant media or the TV coverage and these two competing events make the case study. As Spanish website Biciclismo wrote the other day if the clash is a boxing match then Tirreno-Adriatico wins the 2013 edition by a knock-out because they list Alberto Contador, Chris Froome, Cadel Evans, Joaquim Rodríguez, Samuel Sánchez, Andy Schleck and Vincenzo Nibali for the Italian overall and Peter Sagan, Fabian Cancellara and Bauke Mollema along with Mark Cavendish, André Greipel and Matthew Goss for more action. Meanwhole Paris-Nice has Philippe Gilbert, Robert Gesink, Ivan Basso, Thomas de Gendt, Tejay van Garderen, Lieuwe Westra, Rui Costa, Mikel Nieve and Jakob Fuglsang amongst others. Biciclismo’s right but the final test is seeing how the racing works outs and last year we saw RCS dismayed by the mass abandons of riders during the race.

Easier said than done
If the clash is awkward, resolving it is not. Many riders want a stage race in their legs before the classics season. Both races appear in the slot before Milan-Sanremo. You can’t run either of them earlier because they’d be too far from the classics season but you’d also get even colder weather and potential mountain stages would be closed or just something for ambitious riders to avoid. But moving either race later in the calendar won’t help either as they’d start to clash with the classics.

Third Option
Team Sky have said their classics team won’t be racing in either of these races, preferring instead to train and simulate racing in sunnier climes. They have a point, no cold weather or crap hotels means better training. But this is being presented as some kind of innovation when it’s more a refinement on what others have done before.

Teams
Talking of teams, Sky will still be there – they have to ride – and remember it’s the World Tour 18 plus Cofidis, Sojasun, Europcar and IAM Cycling.

And on the same subject and since we’re looking at French cycling yesterday the President of the French Cycling Federation said he was interested in a return to national teams at the Tour de France. It’s got him some attention which helps raise his profile as he considers running for the head of the UCI but it’s probably bad publicity. All the major pro teams live for the Tour de France and without the publicity in July the sponsors would care little the rest of the season. It might be fun imagining different nations, for example France, Spain, Britain, the Netherlands, the USA and Australia could all field good teams but small nations would suffer, take Slovakia which only has four pros with the Velits and Sagan brothers. We should note the national aspect of some teams, for example the crossover between Sky and British Cycling or Orica-Greenedge and Australia. It’s a fun subject for a café conversation and surely not a serious idea?

Acronym War, Part Deux
If the UCI vs WADA and USADA has got you confused, try ASO and AFLD vs the UCI. A report by RMC says the French anti-doping agency the AFLD is pushing for the right to conduct the anti-doping tests in the race instead of the UCI. Cycling’s governing body handles all the controls for World Tour races but we have a turf war again as the French want to regain control of testing for their event. This almost stopped the race in the past and we’ve seen threats in 2007, 2008 and 2010 but the race goes on.

Conclusion
The season is taking shape. Wiggins started his run at the Tour de France with success in Paris-Nice and both this race and Tirreno-Adriatico feature big climbs and selective time trials making them the first test for grand tour candidates.

The 2013 Paris-Nice has all the ingredients in terms of history and route but seems to lack some star names. Still, it’s one to look forward to, especially because of the extensive TV coverage.

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{ 16 comments }

Stevhan The Invincible February 7, 2013 at 2:13 pm

Wiggo et al riding the Tirreno, good thing, that leaves more chances for Thomas De Gendt to cop his first stage race overall win.

daniel February 7, 2013 at 2:29 pm

wiggins isn’t listed as riding tirreno in this piece, is he not defending his p-n title?

daniel February 7, 2013 at 2:31 pm

a quick look at cyclingnews answered my question :)

The Inner Ring February 7, 2013 at 4:33 pm

I don’t know what answer you got from cyclingnews but I gather he’s doing the Tour of Oman and the Tour of Catalonia but no Paris-Nice. But with the Biciclismo list be careful as these things change a lot before the race.

Anonymous February 7, 2013 at 2:39 pm

1) National teams for TdF. Mais certainement! Let’s not overestimate the argument that smaller nations would have weaker teams racing, because going back to national teams would mean much less “team racing”, and much more “individual racing”.
2) I’ll comment on Thomas & EBH preparing the classics atop the Teide when I see their performance on the cobbles.

The Inner Ring February 7, 2013 at 4:34 pm

The prime argument against national teams is the way it would send sponsors out of the sport. Why back a team if you don’t ride the Tour?

Bundle February 8, 2013 at 10:52 am

Well, in the old days, Anquetil and Bobet had trade names on their tricolore jerseys. Surely some sponsoring money would move from teams to the Tour itself. Which is not bad. Money from teams to races. Fair enough.

BC February 7, 2013 at 6:20 pm

Like many French races, Paris – Nice has an old world charm all its’ own. It doesn’t get huge numbers of fans lining the route, but normally makes for an exciting race coverd by French TV – all on the back of ASO. The French, like others, are most interested in the performance of their own riders. A few star riders or not from overseas will make little difference to the rythm of P-N. And it finishes in Sunshine !

Simon February 7, 2013 at 6:31 pm

I like the Paris-Nice roster better, lots of young and/or hungry riders with something to prove, who would love to win such a prestigious race. T-A on the other end has big names but they all have bigger objectives later in the season so they might take this as preparation, à la Andy Schleck. The sprints might be more interesting in T-A though.

On the subject of the calendar, T-A can’t be moved of course because it has to happen before Milan-San Remo, but I could see Paris-Nice starting on the same week-end as MSR, because the first classics of the season don’t really attract the stage race type of rider that Paris-Nice does. It would’ve worked even better had MSR was still run on the saturday…

Patrick February 7, 2013 at 9:28 pm

the only way notional teams would work is if they replace the current teams so take over the sponsorship.

i could see it working that each teams is based in a major cycling nation eg spain, italy, britain, australia, usa, france, belgium, holland would each have one or more (along with maybe a few other countries). some significant proportion of the riders on each team would be from that home country and the sponsor would have some form of tie there too. the rest of the team would be from minor nations not directly represented, thus there is scope for everyone to get in a top team as the minor nations become the only free agents.

this wouldn’t actually be a big change from the current, just a formalisation of the way a lot of the teams are already setup and bringing the others into line. the likes of cannondale would have to make up their minds whether they’re italian or american.

fans would then have a more obvious relationship with “their” team which might not mean much to cycling fanatics but would help bring wider attention to the sport as the public always like to get behind their national teams, more so than some random collection of riders in a professional team with no obvious allegiance other than to the money.

of course the top riders wouldn’t like it as they would then have few if any team options so lower bargaining power.

steppings February 8, 2013 at 12:45 am

Always look forward to Paris Nice, one of my favourite races and I feel represents the start of the real new season. Maybe I’m just old skool.

Bundle February 8, 2013 at 10:56 am

I am old school too…But T-A looks slightly more attractive this year. Paris-Nice should be a little tougher, with longer stages, which would also make for a better preparation of MSR. And the Nice stage should have real GC danger. Let’s hope we have plenty of wind on the flats this year.

mot February 8, 2013 at 2:47 am

I had a “MilRemo” bidon on my Campy Record Giradengo in ’62.
We had to wait two weeks for the TDF results from Paris Match.
I still ride my trainer on my Miyata 512 during the online races.
The road is not safe…..
I await Omloop, KBK, SB,P-N&M-S.
Always a good workout.

bikecellar February 8, 2013 at 11:49 am

Although I have cycled for 50 or so years I had never linked the Milremo brand name to Milan- San Remo until I saw your post, DOH! thank you. :)

Joe K. February 8, 2013 at 4:03 am

I like it that the two races split the field for the upcoming big stage races. After all, who wants to see the same guys fight it out over and over, and over and over, again? Adds the curiosity factor as to who’ll peak best when they all meet again in May and July. Besides, both races are covered by Eurosport, so what’s to complain about!?

Chris H February 26, 2013 at 2:26 pm

blabla, wot makes u think anyone cares

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