The route of the 2014 edition of Paris-Nice was unveiled by race director Christian Prudhomme on Tuesday morning - and it's the longest edition of the race since 1968.
This year's 72nd edition runs from March 9 to 16 and will not feature an individual time trial stage nor a high mountain finish. It opens up the possibility of a win from a larger pool of riders, not just time trial specialists and/or climbers. Organiser ASO is billing it as a 'race for the daring'.
Despite no true mountain finishes, stage four finishes in Belleville directly after the steep ascent of Côte du Mont-Brouilly, which runs for three kilometres at an average of 8.4 per cent, with some sections at 25 per cent. Enough to open up some gaps and shake up the general classification.
Stages five, seven and eight are peppered with climbs, with the latter two both featuring two first category climbs apiece. All three feature fairly lengthy descents before the finish.
ASO announced at the end of January that Bretagne–Séché Environnement (France), Cofidis, Solutions Crédits (France) and IAM Cycling (Switzerland) had been given wildcard places at the race, joining the 18 WorldTour teams.
The 2013 edition of Paris-Nice was won by Richie Porte (Sky), who took the race lead after winning that race's stage five mountain finish and cemented overall victory with a win in the final time trial.
ASO confirmed that Porte will return to the race in 2014, joined on the start line by world champion Rui Costa (Lampre-Merida), Tejay van Garderen (BMC Racing), Sylvain Chavanel (IAM Cycling) and John Degenkolb (Giant-Shimano).
Paris-Nice 2014: Stages
Sunday March 9, stage one, Mantes-la-Jolie to Mantes-la-Jolie, 162.5 km
Monday March 10, stage two, Rambouillet to Saint-Georges-sur-Baulche, 205 km
Tuesday March 11, stage three, Toucy to Circuit de Nevers Magny-Cours, 180 km
Wednesday March 12, stage four, Nevers to Belleville, 201.5 km
Thursday March 13, stage five, Crêches-sur-Saône to Rive-de-Gier, 152.5 km
Friday March 14, stage six, Saint-Saturnin-lès-Avignon to Fayence, 221.5 km
Saturday March 15, stage seven, Mougins to Biot Sophia Antipolis, 195.5 km
Sunday March 16, stage eight, Nice to Nice, 128 km
Paris-Nice 2014: Teams
AG2R La Mondiale (Fra)
Astana Pro Team (Kaz)
Belkin Pro Cycling Team (Ned)
BMC Racing Team (USA)
Bretagne – Séché Environnement (Fra)
Cofidis, Solutions Crédits (Fra)
Garmin Sharp (USA)
IAM Cycling (Sui)
Lotto Belisol (Bel)
Movistar Team (Esp)
Omega Pharma – Quick Step Cycling Team (Bel)
Orica – GreenEDGE (Aus)
Team Europcar (Fra)
Team Giant – Shimano (Ned)
Team Katusha (Rus)
Team Sky (Gbr)
Tinkoff Saxo (Rus)
Trek Factory Racing (USA)
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