Paris-Nice Stage 6 Preview

Last year’s stage to La Colle-sur-Loup had to be abandoned because a storm made it too windy to race. This time the race goes back and should make it but it’ll be windy along the way.

Stage 5 Review: a fast stage, the race arrived well ahead of schedule thanks to a strong breakaway and a powerful chase, the ideal scenario for several teams as the high pace proved ruinous for some sprinters, Arvid de Kleijn and Fabio Jakobsen were out of the race, Gerben Thijssen got dropped and more were left tired.

Having crossed the finish line to start the loop around Sisteron we saw some attacks on the rise, including a brief move by Remco Evenepoel. A sprint finish seemed inevitable but it added a bit of spice.

In the finish Mads Pedersen again launched early and had Pascal Ackermann waiting on his his wheel. There was a tailwind so going early could work but Olav Kooij threaded his way past others and surged past for the win, his second this week.

The Route: 198km and 2,400m of vertical gain. This stage is a remake of last year’s Stage 6 to La Colle-sur-Loup which was cancelled because of high winds. Today’s route has a different start and approach, there is more climbing on the way past the Verdon gorges but the finish is the same as planned for last year with the climb in La Colle-sur-Loup and the finishing loop including the 6-4-2 second intermediate time bonus.

With 40km to go it’s onto the finishing circuit and this crosses the finish line with 30.5km to go. There’s a left turn and road rears up on a backroad, it’s not just steep but narrow and twisting. Even once the slope levels out it’s still on this small road across to the intermediate sprint. From here it’s the main road, there’s 20km to go but it goes by quickly on the descent, it’ll be hard to chase.

The Finish: a twisting downhill on the main road into town and once in La Colle, the final kilometre is uphill, there are a couple of bends but they’re not sharp, it’s just they block sight of the finish line until the final 200 metres.

The Contenders: a day for a breakaway although with Remco Evenepoel (Soudal-Quickstep) keen to claw back time on his rivals he would love to be able to contest and win the intermediate sprint and the stage finish as there’s 16 seconds in total and he’ll be confident of taking on Primož Roglič. Several teams with versatile sprinters might also help keep a lid on things too.

Christian Scaroni (Astana) showed he was in form on the road to Mont Brouilly, he’s suited to today’s course. Mads Pedersen (Lidl-Trek) is still chasing a stage win and it really is now or never. These are home roads for David Gaudu (Groupama-FDJ) as he’s moved to the Côte d’Azur and now stage hunting after a wardrobe error cost him his place in the front group on the road to Mont Bailly. All this makes him a candidate to go in the breakaway, salvaging a stage win is another matter.

Evenepoel, Scaroni, Bilbao
Pedersen, Gaudu, Guerreiro, Bennett, Pithie, Champoussin

Weather: grey skies, rain at times and 12°C. There will an easterly wind – a headwind for most of the way at 20km/h but the wind could gust at times, reaching 60km/h, it’ll be significant.

TV: the final 90 minutes are live with the finish forecast for 4.30pm CET.

Postcard from La Colle sur Loup: today’s finish isn’t in Nice, but the city is just a short spin downhill and for many pros the finish is on familiar home roads. Plenty are based in Monaco, obviously for tax reasons as the microstate collects no income tax, but French citizens are taxable in Monaco and Americans are taxable anywhere so plenty of riders of these two nationalities still make this area their base for other reasons. Great weather and good roads count for plenty and Nice airport is important given many pros commute to work by plane, as in they travel to races this way. With so many pros here, and also the way salaries have jumped in recent years, there’s also a burgeoning, flourishing ecosystem built around the pro cyclists. Ineos have a mini service course behind Monaco so that riders can get their bikes cleaned and fixed but other riders can call on concierge-style services. Need someone for moto pacing? A coach for physio work? A post-ride massage? Bike cleaning? Babysitting? It’s all a call away and if you expect these services for Monaco residents be they billionaires or Formula 1 drivers you’d be right but it’s now cycling-specific and some of those providing the services offering a rate for cycling clients and, whisper it, charging higher prices to the F1 crowd. This backup helps entrench Nice, Andorra and Girona as rider bases: come to avoid tax, stay for the support network.

11 thoughts on “Paris-Nice Stage 6 Preview”

  1. Thanks for the review and preview!
    Headwind with a possible shower or two does not sound promising, but how tempting are those 6 bonus seconds? I suppose it all depends on who gets into the break and how they ride.

  2. I read elsewhere that tomorrows stage has been changed due to snow
    No doubt this will be covered in the next preview but may affect the way this stage is ridden.

  3. I know we aren’t talking about T-A, but this myth that Vingegaard is somehow robotic and dull needs to go away. He’s pretty much as good downhill as up, it seems.

  4. Whither Ineos? I don’t see the Pidcock TdF experiment working as he got dropped today. Tough to see Tullet crushing for JV today and Plapp in yellow at PN too. Bernal looks better but other than that not much to be excited about. Ratcliffe is clearly preoccupied with Man U. What happens here?

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