Full details of the updated 2021 Paris-Nice route have been published and it includes some appetising highlights.
The 2021 edition will include a climb that was used in last year’s race, La Colmiane, which was won by Nairo Quintana (Arkéa-Samsic). That stage turned out to be the last stage of the race as the final stage was cancelled due to Covid-19.
Last year’s race was an absolute thriller, as the early flat stages were dominated by crosswinds, with Bora-Hansgrohe’s Max Schachmann taking stage one and keeping the yellow jersey all the way to the final stage.
Paris-Nice, now in its 79th year, runs from March 7 to March 14 and features three key stages for the general classification – a 14km time trial, the climb to Chiroubles and the Col de la Colmiane which also featured in stage two of the 2020 Tour de France.
The race opens in the northern Yvelines department in France for the 12th consecutive year with Saint-Cyr-l’École taking over from Plaisir, who hosted stage one last year.
In the early stages, the famed crosswinds could be decisive as they were in 2020 and 2019 with the race going from Oinville-sur-Montcient to Amilly on stage two.
Stage three will be a significant moment in the overall race, as riders will tackle a short 14km time trial stage around Gien.
The next day sees the riders tackle the first summit finish of the race in Chiroubles followed finishes in Bollène and Biot before heading the stage seven and La Colmiane.
The Colmiane appeared in the race in 2018, as Simon Yates (Mitchelton-Scott) took victory on the 16.3km and 6.3 per cent average gradient climb. It also made an appearance in the last stage of 2020 when Quintana took the stage and Schachmann sealed the overall title.
The stage has been shortened to miss out the city of Nice due to the city still being in a strict lockdown with a new start in Le Broc, just outside Nice but most of the route is the same as before.
The final stage, which was originally down to start and finish on the Promenade des Anglais on the seafront in Nice will now start in Plain-du-Var before taking in two and a half laps of a hilly circuit taking in the Côte de Duranus and a finish in Levens.
Check below for all the stage profiles of Paris-Nice 2021.
Paris-Nice 2021: Stage-by-stage
Stage one: Saint-Cyr-L’École to Saint-Cyr-L’École (166 km)
Stage two: Oinville-sur-Montcient to Amilly (188 km)
Stage three: Gien to Gien ITT (14 km)
Stage four: Chalon-sur-Saône to Chiroubles (188 km)
Stage five: Vienne to Bollène (203 km)
Stage six: Brignoles to Biot (202.5 km)
Stage seven: Le Broc to Valdeblore La Colmiane (119.5km)
The penultimate stage of the race still has the same finish and the vast majority of the stage is the same only it loses almost 50km of distance after the stage start was moved to Le Broc to include the Côte de Gilette instead of the Col de Vence as planned.
Stage eight: Plain-du-Var to Levens (92.5km)
The final stage has been completely changed from the usually mountainous stage finishing on the Promenade des Anglais after it was moved due to Covid-19.
The new profile is still hilly as the race takes in two and a half laps of a 33.5km circuit starting in Plain-du-Var taking in the Côte de Duranus three times as well as a gradual rise to the finish town of Levens before descending back down to the start point.
The stage could see some real fireworks as it is just 92.5km long, potentially leaving the race open to big changes in the general classification with the final day of the race often coming down to the wire with long distance attacks such as Alberto Contador in 2016 and Marc Soler in 2018.