Paris Nice stage 6
(Image credit: LUC CLAESSEN)

It is ironic that just as some fans could have been forgiven for turning their backs on professional cycling because it?s scandal-ridden, boring, characterless, lacking charisma and tediously predictable, the riders served up a classic stage race that reminded us why we fell in love with the sport in the first place.

Whisper it quietly, but Paris-Nice was a throwback to the unpredictable 1980s when topsy-turvy stage races were common.

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Sports journalist Lionel Birnie has written professionally for Sunday Times, Procycling and of course Cycling Weekly. He is also an author, publisher, and co-founder of The Cycling Podcast. His first experience covering the Tour de France came in 1999, and he has presented The Cycling Podcast with Richard Moore and Daniel Friebe since 2013. He founded Peloton Publishing in 2010 and has ghostwritten and published the autobiography of Sean Kelly, as well as a number of other sports icons.