09-16 March 2014
It is time for the second World Tour stage race of the season. Paris-Nice used to be the first real fight between the Grand Tour riders. However, with Tour Down Under stepping up and Tour of Oman added to the calendar, we’ve already seen the Tour de France contenders fight each other this season. Actually, we only have one of the big Tour de France favorites starting Paris-Nice. One of the main reasons for this is most likely the lack of tough climbs.
The eight stages of this year’s Paris-Nice seem very unchallenging at first glance. There is neither a single regular mountain top finish nor have the organizers included a time trial. Some might call it boring, but I think it will be the exact opposite. Without a mountain top finish and a time trial, the GC riders have to attack each other where they normally wouldn’t now. Due to the lack of long climbs, the riders may be forced to use the downhill sections to attack and open up gaps. There are 10, 6 and 4 bonus seconds on the line and I’m sure that these will prove to be extremely important for the overall classification. The way I see it, the Queen Stage is on the very last day of the race, which means it will be a fierce fight for the overall podium all the way to the finishing line in Nice...