OVERVIEW

The Race to the Sun, celebrating its 75th edition this year. It marks the “real” opener of the stage race calendar. The 2017 edition will follow a traditional course, with the race starting just outside Paris,  running all the way down to the finish in Nice on the Côte d’Azur seven days later.The stages will vary between flat and mountainous stages, with an individual time trial on stage 4. The 2017 Paris-Nice starts with three flat stages, before the first test for the overall contenders on stage four: a 14.8km individual time trial finishing with the 3km climb. Another flat stage follows, before a huge stage six which features six categorised climbs. Then there is the queen stage, which is a summit finish. The final stage will be around Nice, which consists of five categorised climbs.

The 2017 Paris – Nice startlist is made up of Quick-Step Floors, Trek – Segafredo, AG2R La Mondiale, Team Katusha – Alpecin, Bahrain Merida Pro Cycling Team, Movistar Team, Astana Pro Team, ORICA-Scott, Team Sunweb, Lotto Soudal, UAE Team Emirates, Cannondale-Drapac Pro Cycling Team, BMC Racing Team, Direct Energie, Team Sky, Cofidis, Solutions, Team LottoNL-Jumbo, FDJ, Fortuneo – Vital Concept, Bora – Hansgrohe, Dimension Data and Delko Marseille Provence KTM

 


STAGE ONE

 

FAVOURITES (Stage 1) 

There are four offerings for the sprinters in this years Paris – Nice. The opening stage will see a battle between the sprinters, although the stage is only 150km long, it has some bumps along the way. Therefore I predict a sprinter with a little bit more in the endurance tank than the usual candidates, riders such as Coquard, Degenkolb, Greipel and Kristoff. 

MY PREDICTION: John Degenkolb 🇩🇪 (Trek-Segafredo)

 


STAGE TWO

 

FAVOURITES (Stage 2)

As flat as they come, will be a classic flat stage, fought out between Kittel, Greipel, Groenwegen and Bouhanni.

MY PREDICTION: Marcel Kittel 🇩🇪 (QuickStep Floors)

 


STAGE THREE

 

FAVOURITES (Stage 3) 

Stage three is again a flat stage although there is the opportunity for the break. A few lumps along the way may allow escapees to keep an advantage over the peloton, imagine to have the usual suspects Thomas De Gendt but I’d go for Luke Rowe, after his recent classics form. Although if it does come back together, imagine sprinters like Kittel, Greipel and Kristoff to be in the mix. 

 

MY PREDICTION: Break: Luke Rowe 🇬🇧  (Team Sky) Sprint: Alexander Kristoff 🇳🇴 (Katusha-Alpecin)

 


STAGE FOUR

FAVOURITES (Stage 4)

The first GC decider is a 14.5 k race against the clock. With its slight incline towards the finish line. The winner of this stage will need very good TT skills but also be able to climb. Therefore riders such as Geraint Thomas, Alberto Contador, Alaphillippe and my pick Richie Porte will be favourites.

MY PREDICTION: Richie Porte 🇦🇺  (BMC Racing Team)

 


STAGE FIVE

 

FAVOURITES (Stage 5) 

This could be the stage where a sprinters team will fight harder to save the race if their main man, has been unsuccessful on stage one or two. So I will predict Greipel to get a stage victory would make sense, ahead o riders such as Coquard, Kittel and Degenkol. 

MY PREDICTION: André Greipel 🇩🇪 (Lotto Soudal)


STAGE SIX

 

FAVOURITES (Stage 6) 

The first stage to venture into the mountains. there are six categories climbs, but the winner of this race will need to be a good descender and the ability to attack or sprint for the finish, as I do think a group will arrive at the line together, therefore I will go for Frenchman Alaphilippe ahead of the likes of Henao, Gallopin and Martin. 

MY PREDICTION: Julian Alaphilippe 🇫🇷 (Quickstep Floors)


STAGE SEVEN

 

FAVOURITES (Stage 7) 

The summit finish, will be the big tester. It will be a massive stage for the big GC men; Contador, Henao, Poels, Kruijsijk but I think the Australian Richie Porte will start continue his 2017 in style. 

MY PREDICTION:  Richie Porte 🇦🇺  (BMC Racing Team)


STAGE EIGHT

 

FAVOURITES (Stage 8) 

Much like stage six, a climber who can attack or sprint, this stage has Tony Gallopin written all over it! 

MY PREDICTION: Tony Gallopin 🇫🇷  (Lotto Soudal)


OVERALL RACE FAVOURITE

Richie Porte 🇦🇺  (BMC Racing Team)

I think 2017 will be a big year for Porte, I think he will podium at the Tour and possibly take a few stages, he looked better than ever at the Town Down Under.

ONES TO WATCH

Alberto Contador 🇪🇸  (Trek-Segafredo)

After supporting Mollema in a few races, Imagine Contador will be back with a bang at Paris – Nice. Although I don’t think he’ll improve on his second place.

Julian Alaphilippe 🇫🇷 (Quickstep Floors)

Could the 2017 Paris-Nice be his break through?

Ion Izagirre 🇪🇸  (Bahrain Merida)

After being behind Valverde and Quintana in the pecking order at Movistar. Izagirre has jumped ship to Bahrian to have a crack at his own GC ambitions. I’m really excited to see how he fairs

OUTSIDERS

Steven Kruijswijk 🇳🇱 (Team LottoNL-Jumbo) Everyone wanted the Dutchman to take the Giro last year, and he came ever so close! Can Kruijswijk mix it with the likes of Contador, Porte and Valverde. A strong bet for top 10  Sergio Luis Henao 🇨🇴  (Team Sky) The freshly crowned Colombian national champion will leading a quality Sky team to Nice, but is he strong enoguh to follow the big GC men? I imagine a top 5 for Henao. Irishman Dan Martin 🇮🇪(Quick Step Floors) Will lead QuickStep for GC, whilst Kittel will take charge for the sprints, he will not have a great amount of support so if he does claim an early mountain stage, he is unlikely to be able to hold of attacks in the later stages. There must be at least one Frenchman in the running, I’ve deliberately avoided Bardet as I don’t think he will record a top 10 at this years Paris-Nice. On the other hand Pierre Latour 🇫🇷  (AG2R La Mondiale) has come off a large rest after showing potential in the back end of 2016, could he spring a surprise? Unlikely as Romain Bardet will lead, but an early lapse or crash from Bardet, could see the plan “B” gain a top 10.

 


 

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Hope you enjoyed the first preview of the year, please leave a comment.

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