For the first time in 15 years there was no prologue to this years Paris-Nice (more often referred to as “Race to the Sun” now in its 69th edition) which begins today, instead it kicks off with a straight stage that will give the sprinters a fighting chance at the leader’s Jersey, taking in looping laps from and to Houdan over a distance of 154.5 km.
Over the next 7days the tour takes rides from the flatlands of central France to the challenging mountain terrain that rings its south-eastern coastline, with individual time-trials on day/stage 6 (March 11) over 27km on the Rognes to Aix-en-Provence section. This will be the first time since 1968 that the Paris-Nice has featured individual time-trials of such length.
22 teams are fielding competitors, including Team Radioshack, Leopard-Trek, Saxo Bank Sunguard and Britain’s Sky Pro Cycling with Australian Michael Rogers spearheading the attack. Rogers, who joined Team Sky following five seasons with HTC-Columbia, had a pretty miserable time of it in the Algarve following a sinus infection, but now reports that he is eager to test himself on across this tough 1,307km opening leg of the European UCI World Tour.
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