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Paris-Nice Route 2019 Route

The route of the 2019 Paris-Nice race was unveiled today and the race from 10-17 March is less than 60 days away. It’s been a thriller in recent years, a highlight of the last few seasons and here’s a closer look at this year’s course.

Stage 1 is a loop around the Parisian suburbs and the countryside of the Chevreuse valley, a popular destination for Parisian cyclists and a habitual starting point for this race as organisers ASO have done a long term deal with the municipality.

Stage 2 finishes goes to Bellegarde. France has lots of Bellegardes and this one is near the Loire and, a short spin from Pierre Rolland’s home. There’s a finishing loop before likely sprint finish, it’s all flat and exposed terrain and stage to enjoy if the wind is up; if not then tune for the sprint.

Stage 3 and another flat stage up the Loire valley and a likely sprint finish.

Stage 4 sees the race go into the Massif Central and a hilly finish in Pélussin, on the flanks of Mont Pilat. The final climb of the day is billed as 3.1km at 4.9% but harder than it sounds with some steeper sections, it’s a finish for the uphill puncheurs.

Stage 5 is the time trial stage and relatively long at 25.5km around the Rhone valley with the climb to the Frigolet abbey as the main difficulty but if it looks like a bump on the profile the course peaks at 100m above sea level, it’s much flatter than last year’s TT outside Saint Etienne.

Stage 6 breakaway or sprint? It’s accessible to both and the local Mistral wind could make all the difference.

Stage 7 the legendary Col de Turini features. Named by TV program “Top Gear” as one of the world’s ten best roads, it’s famous in motorsport from the Monte Carlo rally and they take the rally side from the north with a long climb that’s steady for the most part, 15km at 7.3% but with more 6% at the start and 8% towards the top. It’s great to see the race using this climb but it’ll be a cautious race with riders being eliminated from the group rather than attacks, similar to last year’s stage to La Colmiane.

Stage 8 is the copy of last year’s stage, a 110km loop into the Nice hinterland and a course that’s generated plenty of great racing in recent years.

The Verdict
Can it be as good as recent years? The course is similar with a TT stage, a summit finish and now classic Nice loop on the final day but the rest is down to the riders, perhaps the attack on the Côte de Peille (the Col de Saint Pancrace to locals) is becoming all too familiar by now? The TT is flatter so tilts things marginally towards more powerful riders.

There’s no startlist but as ever procyclingstats scans news and social media for reports to make one ahead of the race and 2018 race winner Marc Soler will be back, with Nairo Quintana alongside. This is within Michał Kwiatkowski’s range and on his training roads and Egan Bernal is slated to ride too. Wilco Kelderman should feature and Astana bring the Izagirre brothers plus Miguel Angel Lopez and Paris-Nice habitual L-L Sanchez. The sprint finishes should be lively with Caleb Ewan, Mark Cavendish, Arnaud Démare, Dylan Groenewegen and Alexander Kristoff already annouced by ASO and more are bound to take part, Sam Bennett, Nacer Bouhanni and Bryan Coquard should be there.

Wildcards: five invitations go to Arkea-Samsic, Cofidis, Delko-Marseille, Direct Energie and Vital Concept. Normally it’s four but with seven riders per team there’s room for an extra team in the race and we’ll see if ASO copy this for the Tour de France invitations, possibly with Wanty-Gobert instead of Delko-Marseille. Thursday morning update: it’s 22 teams for the Tour de France, so four wildcards. Two of these have just been announced, Cofidis and Wanty-Groupe Gobert, first and second on the UCI rankings for the second tier teams and the other two places will be announced later in the season.

TV: there’s roughly an hour a day of live coverage.

Comments on this entry are closed.

  • Gregario Wednesday, 9 January 2019, 1:40 pm

    Exciting penultimate stage with the Turini and the equally stunning piece of road between Coursegoules and Gillette. The views are fantastic and so should be the racing as Paris-Nice always seems to deliver.

  • Michael Wednesday, 9 January 2019, 2:05 pm

    It’s a minor point, but I do wish stage organizers would use a consistent height for their graphs. Stage 7 and 8 seem to cover the same vertical, but the Col de Turini’s 1607m is 2 1/2 times the height of anything on stage 8. Sometimes those comparisons matter, on subsequent days of racing. Beyond that, this sounds like another great race to watch at the end of the first few stages and in the last few days.

    • DJW Wednesday, 9 January 2019, 2:13 pm

      I find it hard to understand the comment. The fitting of the Y axis scale to the specifics of the stages seems appropriate and easy to understand.

      • RQS Saturday, 12 January 2019, 9:25 pm

        To be fair the ‘climb’ on any one stage can be difficult to gauge unless you pay attention to the scaling on the y-axis.

        It’s something which means you can’t just casually gauge a stage so I appreciate what Michael is saying.

        I did the RAB one year, and there were severe complaints by riders who thought the ‘jaunt’ through Cornwall and Devon was significantly flatter than was represented. The short, but repetitive hill climbs not really registering on such diagrams.

  • Nikis third wheel Wednesday, 9 January 2019, 8:21 pm

    Always one of my favourite races of the year and re-sparks the interest after the winter months. I miss the Eze though!

    • Gregario Wednesday, 9 January 2019, 9:06 pm

      Col d’Eze is ridden twice in the final stage (well, maybe 1,5 times). First from the short and pretty steep side coming from the Moyenne Corniche and then as the final climb from the classic side in Nice, although they don’t go to the top but stop at the Col des Quatres Chemins, which is about 4 km from the top.

      • Nikis third wheel Wednesday, 9 January 2019, 9:10 pm

        I meant more the TT, like in the Kelly era. I admit though the re-jigged route has been a highlight of the last few seasons. )I rode it from the Nice side last year and it was tougher than I expected)!

        • Gregario Wednesday, 9 January 2019, 9:40 pm

          I agree – not so easy to ride because of the varying gradients and false flats in between some steeper sections. Been there last year too and absolutely loved the area! I envy all those pro riders living there – stunning roads, great views and perfect weather all year long.

          • Nikis third wheel Wednesday, 9 January 2019, 9:52 pm

            I agree, I was out there for MSR. The geography is paradise for cyclists.

          • Gabriel Constantin Friday, 11 January 2019, 2:05 am

            Yep, everybody hates a breather on a climb.

  • Paul Erskine Wednesday, 9 January 2019, 9:11 pm

    Nice that mr col collective just posted his Turini video on YT just yesterday.. stunning.. https://youtu.be/FyCPN4rOwl0

    • Triraptor Thursday, 10 January 2019, 7:25 am

      I thought so too, what a stunning road.

  • Le Brasseur Wednesday, 9 January 2019, 9:45 pm

    Stage 5 might be easy on elevation but it could be ferocious on wind if the mistral is funnelling down the Rhone valley!

  • Morten Reippuert Wednesday, 9 January 2019, 10:21 pm

    Stage 6 sprint: not a chance…

    • The Inner Ring Thursday, 10 January 2019, 10:25 am

      We’ll see, could be a day for the likes of Sonny Colbrelli or Michael Matthews if they’re riding, a lot of teams will have an interest to contain things.

  • Netserk Thursday, 10 January 2019, 3:11 pm

    »It’s great to see the race using this climb [Turini] but it’ll be a cautious race with riders being eliminated from the group rather than attacks, similar to last year’s stage to La Colmiane.«

    I’d say that Turini is far more like Couillole than Saint-Martin. An actual HC climb (perhaps borderline so, given the altitude). While the latter did see a limited amount of action from the front of the pack last year, the former saw quite some action when it was used two years ago. For sure, Turini will suit Quintana far better than say Kwiatkowski, and it could also rule out Alaphilippe of the GC (like Couillole did).

    • The Inner Ring Thursday, 10 January 2019, 7:56 pm

      I’d go with that too, hopefully the gradient at the top makes it more selective but still expect people to be screaming “attack, attack” at their TVs for the first 3/4 of the climb, unless Quintana decides to go for it.

    • Cascarinho Thursday, 10 January 2019, 9:51 pm

      Alaphilippe won’t be there, he’ll be riding Tirreno.

  • Avignon rider Thursday, 10 January 2019, 4:53 pm

    The little peak to Abbaye Saint-Michel on the TT stage might be interesting!

    The ascent is not that steep and will be high-pace entering the two hairpins. Then, the descent will be really technical in high speeds; on small narrow roads with very limited vision around corners.