Paris-Nice will returns for 2021 as the first major European stage race of the season, with a stellar line-up expected for the 79th edition of the Race to the Sun.
Last year's event was the final stage race to go ahead before the coronavirus pandemic caused a complete cessation of racing until August, however the eighth and final stage was scrapped due to the continuing escalation of the pandemic. German Max Schachmann (Bora-Hansgrohe) was confirmed the winner of the 2020 edition after seven stages, beating Tiesj Benoot (then Sunweb) to the overall victory. Both riders return for the 2021 race.
This year the race will be back with eight stages, including some enticing hilly stages, flat runs for the sprinters, the decisive mountain stages, and a crucial individual time trial. All the WorldTour teams are included of course, with Alpecin-Fenix qualifying automatically for a place as the highest-ranked ProTour team last year. B&B Hotels p/b KTM, Arkéa-Samsic, and Total Direct Energie fill the wildcard places.
There's already some serious GC talent confirmed on the Paris-Nice 2021 start list: Vuelta a España winner Primož Roglič will chase victory alongside Steven Kruijswijk for Jumbo-Visma, while Giro d'Italia winner Tao Geoghegan Hart will start for Ineos along with Richie Porte and Rohan Dennis. The Brit will come up against his rival from the Giro, Jai Hindley (Team DSM) for the first time since they finished first and second in Italy last October. Wout Poels (Bahrain-Victorious) will no doubt be aiming to stay in the mix for the overall win, as will Astana's Aleksandr Vlasov. Frenchmen David Gaudu (Groupama-FDJ) and Guillaume Martin (Cofidis) will be outside bets at taking a surprise win in their home stage race.
There's also a raft of sprint talent on the start list, including Ireland's Sam Bennett (Deceuninck-Quick-Step), French champion Arnaud Démare (Groupama-FDJ), Italian champion Giacomo Nizzolo (Assos-Qhubeka), Alexander Kristoff (UAE Team Emirates), Michael Matthews (Team BikeExchange), and Pascal Ackermann (Bora-Hansgrohe) among a host of others. Classics riders like Mads Pedersen and Jasper Stuyven (Trek-Segafredo), Oliver Naesen (Ag2r-Citroën), and Jasper Philipsen (Alpecin-Fenix) will hope to disrupt the sprinters on the flatter stages as they use the race as preparation for their spring campaigns.
Other notable inclusions on the start list include Thomas De Gendt and Philippe Gilbert (Lotto-Soudal), Søren Kragh Andersen (Team DSM), Warren Barguil (Arkéa-Samsic), and Sep Vanmarcke (Israel Start-Up Nation) on a star-studded start list.
The 2021 Paris-Nice starts on Sunday March 7 in Saint-Cyr-L’École and finishes on Sunday March 14 in Nice.
Paris-Nice 2021 start list
Cofidis, Solutions Crédits
DE GENDT Thomas
UAE Team Emirates
DE LA CRUZ David
BYSTRØM Sven Erik
VAN EMDEN Jos
SÁNCHEZ Luis León
VAN BAARLE Dylan
DE PLUS Laurens
GEOGHEGAN HART Tao
AG2R Citroën Team
Cofidis, Solutions Crédits
EL FARES Julien
VAN POPPEL Danny
EIKING Odd Christian
VAN POPPEL Boy
VAN DER HOORN Taco
Israel Start-Up Nation
ROJAS José Joaquín
JANSEN Amund Grøndahl
KRAGH ANDERSEN Søren
B&B Hotels p/b KTM
DE BONDT Dries
Total Direct Energie
BOASSON HAGEN Edvald
VAN GESTEL Dries
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Hi, I'm one of Cycling Weekly's content writers for the web team responsible for writing stories on racing, tech, updating evergreen pages as well as the weekly email newsletter. Proud Yorkshireman from the UK's answer to Flanders, Calderdale, go check out the cobbled climbs!
I started watching cycling back in 2010, before all the hype around London 2012 and Bradley Wiggins at the Tour de France. In fact, it was Alberto Contador and Andy Schleck's battle in the fog up the Tourmalet on stage 17 of the Tour de France.
It took me a few more years to get into the journalism side of things, but I had a good idea I wanted to get into cycling journalism by the end of year nine at school and started doing voluntary work soon after. This got me a chance to go to the London Six Days, Tour de Yorkshire and the Tour of Britain to name a few before eventually joining Eurosport's online team while I was at uni, where I studied journalism. Eurosport gave me the opportunity to work at the world championships in Harrogate back in the awful weather.
After various bar jobs, I managed to get my way into Cycling Weekly in late February of 2020 where I mostly write about racing and everything around that as it's what I specialise in but don't be surprised to see my name on other news stories.
When not writing stories for the site, I don't really switch off my cycling side as I watch every race that is televised as well as being a rider myself and a regular user of the game Pro Cycling Manager. Maybe too regular.
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