Evenepoel, Roglic get Tour de France taste at Paris-Nice

cycling02 March 2024 04:14| © AFP
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Louis Barre © Gallo Images

Cycling fans can enjoy a tantalising peek at how the Tour de France may culminate in July when the Paris-Nice stage race sets off on Sunday towards a finale on the Promenade des Anglais on the Mediterranean seafront.

With the Olympic Games in Paris in July, the conclusion of the Tour de France has been switched away from its traditional Champs Elysees finish line in the French capital.

Instead the Tour will conclude with what should be a thrilling individual time-trial along the winding corniche from Monaco to the Riviera city of Nice.

Neither Jonas Vingegaard nor Tadej Pogacar, winners of the last four Tours de France, will be at Paris-Nice.

But the other members of the so-called 'Fab Four' fighting for the 2024 Tour title – Belgium's Remco Evenepoel and Slovenian veteran Primoz Roglic – will be at the start line.

Belgian maverick Evenepoel has not only never raced a Tour de France, he has never taken part in a stage race in the country.

"Paris-Nice is a huge test for me and an opportunity to race in France. I don't necessarily see it as a duel between myself and Primoz Roglic," Evenepoel said.

"I don't know the Nice region so I'll stay on after to have a good look at the route the Tour de France will take," he said.

"That's crucial, my eyes are wide open, I need to learn."

At 34, Roglic is cursed to be forever remembered for surrendering a 90-second Tour de France lead in a gut-wrenching last-gasp meltdown on the Planche des Belle Filles climb back in 2020.

Paris-Nice is the first significant stage race of the season to start. It packs all the difficulties of a Grand Tour into eight stages.

Embarking from the Paris region, the race is affectionately known as the 'Race to the Sun'.

The forecast predicts a windy opening stage across the plains south of Paris where the bigger, more powerful cyclists can prosper.

The first two stages are likely to offer at least one mass bunch sprint as will stage five.

Sunday's opening run is largely flat but two late climbs will complicate things for the outright fast men such as Fabio Jakobsen and Dylan Groenewegen of the Netherlands and Ireland's Sam Bennett.


The third stage is a team time trial over 30km. With Roglic and Evenepoel likely to shine as riders are timed individually.

The idea is that teams will deliver Evenepoel and Roglic before splintering as they send their leading contenders up the road near the finish.

Stage four takes the peloton over seven climbs through the picture-postcard Beaujolais vineyards.

The final weekend is likely to be where the race is decided with Saturday featuring a 7km climb at 7.2 per cent incline toward a summit finish that favours Roglic.

Sunday's final short, but tough, 108km rush towards old Nice favours Evenepoel and finishes with a white- knuckle 16km downhill dash to the Promenade des Anglais.


Sunday 3 March, Stage 1: Les Mureaux-Les Mureaux, 157.7 km

Monday 4 March, Stage 2: Thoiry-Montargis, 177.6 km

Tuesday 5 March, Stage 3: Auxerre-Auxerre (team time trial), 26.9 km

Wednesday 6 March, Stage 4: Chalon-sur-Saône-Mont Brouilly, 183 km

Thursday 7 March, Stage 5: Saint-Sauveur-de-Montagut- Sisteron, 193.5 km

Friday 8 March, Stage 6: Sisteron-La-Colle-sur-Loup, 198.2 km

Saturday 9 March, Stage 7: Nice-Auron, 173 km

Sunday 10 March, Stage 8: Nice-Nice, 109.3 km