While two of last year’s top three won’t be taking the start line, as Egan Bernal and Michał Kwiatkowski’s Ineos are one of a number of teams to drop out of the French stage race, a host of strong riders are still set to contest Paris-Nice 2020.
With the cancellation of Italy’s March races, Paris-Nice’s line-up has been bolstered, with the likes of Peter Sagan (Bora-Hansgrohe) and Romain Bardet (Ag2r La Mondiale) being added to their team’s squads at the last minute.
But who’s going to win? In place of having favourite riders or hunches about who’s going well, the methodical, unblinking bookies and their clinical obsession with the bottom line will give us a good idea.
Nairo Quintana’s had a great start to 2020, winning the Tour de La Provence and the Tour des Alpes Maritimes et du Var, and is now favourite to take his third French stage race victory of the year at Paris-Nice. The Colombian is 4/1 favourite and will hope to take this early-season form all the way into the summer’s Tour de France with his new Arkéa-Samsic team.
Thibaut Pinot is a close second favourite at 9/2. The Frenchman managed two top 10 GC finishes in the two French races Quintana won, with the Groupama-FDJ rider solely focused on this year’s Tour de France.
While a lot of attention will be directed Pinot’s way throughout the week, a rider who often flies under the radar is Bora-Hansgrohe’s Max Schachmann. The German won his national road race championships after top-five finishes at Liège–Bastogne–Liège, the Amstel Gold Race and La Flèche Wallonne. He’s valued at 7/1.
Another French favourite next week will be Deceuninck – Quick-Step’s Julian Alaphilippe. Although he’s had a shaky start to 2020 after his unbelievable 2019, there’s no doubting the 27-year-old’s quality. Therefore, he’s 12/1 to win the race for the first time, his best previous result being fifth in 2017.
Richie Porte is the fifth favourite at 12/1 to add a third Paris-Nice title following his victories in 2013 and 2015. Now in his second year with Trek-Segafredo, the Tasmanian will be looking to add results after a promising start to the year, taking the overall win at the Tour Down Under in January.
Another rider who’s been riding well so far in 2020 is up next. Sergio Higuita claimed the Colombian national road race title before also winning Tour Colombia, and the 22-year-old looks to have a promising career ahead of him. This will be Higuita’s first appearance at Paris-Nice, he’s valued at 14/1 to win at his first attempt.
Closing out the top 10 of favourites are two current Bahrain-McLaren riders and one former member of the squad. Firstly, Dylan Teuns is 14/1 to put his wrong-turn mishap of the Ruta del Sol behind him. Then Vincenzo Nibali, who now finds himself at Trek-Segafredo after leaving the Bahraini project last year, will be hoping to get a win under his belt as soon as possible for his new employers and is only 20/1 to do so. Spaniard Pello Bilbao is then 25/1 to take the victory, having only participated in the race once before in his career but not finishing the 2012 edition.