A look ahead to the racing route at the 2018 Paris-Nice (March 4-11)
The Paris-Nice 2018 route has been announced, with the race starting in Chatou to the west of Paris on March 4, and finishing seven days later on the Côte d’Azur in Nice.
Last year’s race saw Team Sky’s Sergio Henao take victory by the slender margin of just two seconds ahead of Alberto Contador after a nail-biting final stage around Nice, and race organisers will be hoping for a similar finish in 2018.
The race features a similar parcours to that used in 2017, with a short time trial midway through the race, a summit finish on the penultimate day, and a short, hilly final stage around Nice to finish things off.
Paris-Nice 2018 route: stage-by-stage
Stage one: Chatou to Meudon, 135 km
A fairly short opening day between the two Parisian suburbs of Chatou and Meudon, the opening stage will be a chance for punchy riders to move into yellow thanks to the 1.9km climb to the finish with an average gradient of six per cent.
Stage two: Orsonville to Vierzon, 187 km
The second stage sees the riders begin the long ride south as the race crosses the flat landscapes of northern France towards a likely sprint finish in Vierzon.
Stage three: Bourges to Châtel-Guyon, 210 km
The longest stage of the race, stage three features another flat parcours ahead of a finishing loop around the town of Châtel-Guyon which should again see the sprinters prosper.
Stage four: La Fouillouse to Saint-Étienne, 18.4 km (ITT)
As was the case in 2017, stage four is a relatively short time trial, with an 18.4km test against the clock climbing for the first eight kilometres, before a fast second half to the finish in Saint-Étienne.
Stage five: Salon-de-Provence to Sisteron, 163.5 km
Stage five sees Paris-Nice head into the Alps for the first time, and expect a lumpy route which will have the sprinters battling to stay in contention for the finish in Sisteron.
Stage six: Sisteron to Vence, 188 km
With the longer climbs beckoning at the weekend, stage six sees the peloton subjected to no fewer than six smaller ascents, meaning a war of attrition is likely on the road into Vence.
Stage seven: Nice to Valdeblore La Colmiane, 175 km
For the second year in succession, the penultimate stage will feature a summit finish, this time up the 16km, six per cent climb of Valdeblore La Colmiane which should be familiar to the riders after being traversed (albeit from the other direction) in 2017 and will surely be crucial in deciding the final race winner.
Stage eight: Nice to Nice, 110 km
There’s no return to a time trial up the Col d’Èze, with race organisers instead opting for the successful formula from recent years of a short, sharp, hilly stage in the hills around Nice to finish the race.
Paris-Nice route 2018
Sunday March 4, Stage 1: Chatou > Meudon, 135 km
Monday March 5, Stage 2: Orsonville > Vierzon, 187 km
Tuesday March 6, Stage 3 Bourges > Châtel-Guyon, 210 km
Wednesday March 7, Stage 4: La Fouillouse > Saint-Étienne, 18.4 km (ITT)
Thursday March 8, Stage 5: Salon-de-Provence > Sisteron, 163.5 km
Friday March 9, Stage 6: Sisteron > Vence, 188 km
Saturday March 10, Stage 7: Nice > Valdeblore La Colmiane, 175 km
Sunday March 11, Stage 8: Nice > Nice, 110 km