Paris-Nice 2015 will see the return to its classic finale, as riders face a 9.6km time trial up the Col d’Èze climb on stage seven of the race, while Britain’s Bradley Wiggins is likely to feature in the race as part of his preparation for Paris-Roubaix.
The Col d’Èze has been used no less than 32 times in 72 editions of the Race to the Sun, 28 of those in the form of an individual mountain time trial, with Wiggins taking the victory on the final stage in 2012.
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Team Sky teammate Richie Porte (who is also set to race again in 2015) was the last rider to take victory in the time trial on the Col d’Èze, en route to the overall win in 2013, just as Wiggins had done the year before.
The climb (as featured within the race) averages 4.7 per cent gradient to the top, but has some significantly steeper sections that can often make it a decisive player in who will win the pretigious stage race.
Last week’s leaked Paris-Nice route proved to be right on the money, as ASO revealed the full details of where the race will be headed in 2015, with three particularly mountainous days consecutively on stages four, five and six, with a brand new summit finish atop the Col de la Croix de Chaubouret to contend with on the fourth stage.
ASO revealed its chosen wildcard teams in January, as French squads Cofidis, Bretagne Séché-Environment and Europcar get set to join the 17 WorldTour teams on the startline.
Riders likely to feature alongside Wiggins and Porte include 2011 overall winner Tony Martin (Etixx – Quick-Step), Philippe Gilbert (BMC), Romain Bardet (Ag2r-La Mondiale), and Rui Costa (Lampre-Merida), as well as specialist sprinters Nacer Bouhanni (Cofidis), Arnaud Demare (FDJ), John Degenkolb (Giant-Alpecin) and Alexander Kristoff (Katusha).
2015 Paris-Nice, March 8 – 15:
March 9, Stage 1: Saint-Rémy-lès-Chevreuse – Contres, 192km
March 10, Stage 2: Zoo Parc de Beauval – Saint-Amand-Montrond, 172km
March 11, Stage 3: Saint-Amand-Montrond – Saint-Pourçain-sur-Sioule, 179km
March 12, Stage 4: Varennes-sur-Allier – La Croix de Chaubouret, 204km
March 13, Stage 5: Saint-Etienne – Rasteau, 192 km
March 14, Stage 6: Vence – Nice, 181.5km
March 15, Stage 8: Nice – Col d’Èze (ITT), 9.8km