The final two stages of Paris-Nice have been altered to avoid Nice as coronavirus restrictions continue in the surrounding areas.
The mayor of Nice, Christian Estrosi, said earlier in the week he wasn’t keen on the idea of the race finishing on the Promenade des Anglais in the middle of the city in order to keep the area open to residents and has now confirmed the route has been changed.
Instead of stage seven departing Nice, riders will set off from Le Broc, north-west of the city, before the category one test at the finish line summit of Valdeblore La Colmiane.
Then, on the final stage eight which was supposed to start and finish in Nice, the peloton will once again be moved north, starting from Plan-du-Var and finishing in Levens.
“I opposed the arrival of Paris-Nice this weekend in a lockdown area. We all have to be serious,” Estrosi said, appearing on local radio to talk about the decision. “Plan B will leave Le Broc on Saturday to arrive in Valdeblore and La Colmiane. Sunday, the stage will start from Plan-du-Var towards Levens.”
Race organiser ASO had previously said it was still keen to finish the race as it was originally planned, but Christian Prudhomme admitted they would have to be flexible as the situation continued to change. “We are very hopeful that we will reach the French Riviera this time in Paris-Nice,” Prudhomme had said earlier in the week. “The [Covid-19] figures in the Alpes Maritimes are moving in the right direction. We remain calm about it. If it turns out differently, we will adapt.”
This will be the second year that Paris-Nice has failed to make it to the Mediterranean coast after the final stage eight of the 2020 edition was cancelled as the first coronavirus lockdown hit.
Cycling fans on the French Riviera haven’t been that hard done by, though, with the 2020 Grand Départ of the Tour de France having toured Nice for three days amid coronavirus restrictions last summer, which included face masks needing to be worn at all times both indoors and outdoors.