The 2014 Paris-Nice will be unlike any stage race in recent memory. Organizers have served up a course without time trials or mountaintop finishes.
The eight-day “Race To The Sun,” from the outskirts of Paris to Nice, certainly features some undulating terrain, including some hard climbs across the Massif Central and near France’s Cote d’Azur, but there will not be an opening-day prologue nor a closing-day time trial, as has been the recent tradition up Col d’Eze, where Richie Porte (Sky) sealed victory last year.
According to race organizer ASO, the race is tipped toward the “audacious,” and should see an intense battle for positioning. All of the stage profiles have yet to be released, but several stages feature late climbs within the closing 30 minutes of racing that will set the stage for attacks to break apart the peloton.
The penultimate stage, however, features a short, punchy uphill finale that could prove decisive.
The final stage includes five rated climbs, including the Cat. 1 Col d’Eze, but rather than finishing atop the emblematic climb, it will drop down to the Promenade des Anglais.
As ASO promised in its announcement Wednesday, the race could be decided with bonuses on the finish line.
72nd Paris-Nice (March 9-16)
Stage 1: Mantes-la-Jolie — Mantes-la-Jolie (162.5km)
Stage 2: Rambouillet — Saint-Georges-sur-Baulche (205km)
Stage 3: Toucy — Circuit de Nevers Magny-Cours (180km)
Stage 4: Nevers — Belleville (201.5km)
Stage 5: Creches-sur-Saone — Rive-de-Gier (152.5km)
Stage 6: Saint-Saturnin-les-Avignon — Fayence (221.5km)
Stage 7: Mougins — Biot Sophia Antipolis (221.5km)
Stage 8: Nice — Nice (128km)