1. Etappe, 5. März: La Verrière – La Verrière (169,4 km)
2. Etappe, 6. März: Bazainville – Fontainebleau (163,7 km)
3. Etappe, 7. März: Dampierre-en-Burly – Dampierre-en-Burly (32,2 km / MZF)
4. Etappe, 8. März: St.-Amand-Montrond – La Loge des Gardes (164,7 km / BA)
5. Etappe, 9. März: St.-Symphorien-sur-Croise – St.-Paul-Trois-Chateaux (212,4 km)
6. Etappe, 10. März: Tourves – La Colle-sur-Loup (197,4 km)
7. Etappe, 11. März: Nizza – Col de La Couillole (142,9 km / BA)
8. Etappe, 12. März: Nizza – Nizza (118,4 km)
La Verrière – La Verrière – 169Km
1 MERLIER Tim BEL SOUDAL QUICK-STEP 03:50:52
2 BENNETT Sam IRL BORA-HANSGROHE 00:00
3 PEDERSEN Mads DEN TREK-SEGAFREDO 00:00
4 KOOIJ Olav NED JUMBO-VISMA 00:00
5 DE LIE Arnaud BEL LOTTO DSTNY 00:00
6 MATTHEWS Michael AUS TEAM JAYCO-ALULA 00:00
7 COQUARD Bryan FRA COFIDIS 00:00
8 GARCÍA CORTINA Iván ESP MOVISTAR TEAM 00:00
9 GROVES Kaden AUS ALPECIN-DECEUNINCK 00:00
10 DÉMARE Arnaud FRA GROUPAMA-FDJ 00:00
11 MARIT Arne BEL INTERMARCHÉ-CIRCUS-WANTY 00:00
12 VAN POPPEL Danny NED BORA-HANSGROHE 00:00
13 CORT Magnus DEN EF EDUCATION-EASYPOST 00:00
14 DUJARDIN Sandy FRA TOTALENERGIES 00:00
15 WRIGHT Fred GBR BAHRAIN VICTORIOUS 00:00
Sam Bennett zum Auftakt von Paris-Nizza auf Platz zwei
Mit einer 169,4km langen Etappe wurde heute in Frankreich die achttägige Fernfahrt Paris-Nizza (2.UWT) eröffnet. Schmale Straßen, windanfälliges Terrain und zwei Bergwertungen der dritten Kategorie versprachen einen spannenden ersten Renntag. Eine frühe, zweiköpfige Ausreißergruppe bestimmte das Rennen bis zum Zusammenschluss 30km vor dem Ziel.
Die finalen 20km waren geprägt von Attacken, schlussendlich aber wurde die Etappe in einem Massensprint entschieden. Beim Sieg von T. Merlier sicherte sich Sam Bennett Platz zwei.
Reaktionen im Ziel
„Ein großer Dank an meine Teamkollegen, die speziell in dem hektischen Finale den Überblick behalten und einen großartigen Job gemacht haben. Die letzten 30km waren richtig hart, ich habe mich aber sehr gut gefühlt, das stimmt mich positiv für die Flachetappe morgen.“ Sam Bennett
„Ein kalter Tag mit einem ziemlich heißen Finale! Leider waren Bob Jungels und Nils Politt am vorletzten Anstieg in einen Sturz involviert und fehlten somit für unser Leadout. Danny van Poppel hat im Finale einen super Job gemacht, Sam Bennett musste sich am Ende knapp geschlagen geben. Klar wollen wir hier um den Sieg fahren, sind aber mit Platz zwei zum Auftakt auf jeden Fall zufrieden. Morgen gibt’s die nächste Chance!“ Rolf Aldag, Sportlicher Leiter
Race director François Lemarchand believes Pogacar and Vingegaard will be at the front from day 1.
Jonas Vingegaard tackles his first Paris-Nice hoping for the best after his show of strength in the Grand Camino.
Ambitious Tadej Pogacar jokes that he is unlikely to win all Paris-Nice stages despite an impressive sweep of wins so far this season.
FRANÇOIS LEMARCHAND : “WE’RE GOING TO SEE POGACAR AND VINGEGAARD IN STAGE 1”
It’s become commonplace in Paris-Nice that instead of a prologue or a finish for pure sprinters, François Lemarchand takes advantage of the terrain in the Yvelines to force the peloton to face hills and winds that can hamper the plans of the sprinters teams. “You only have to look at the map to understand that we have definitely opted to try and spur attacks. There are changes in direction all the time and we have gone looking for the hardest climbs in the Chevreuse Valley. We also placed the only intermediate sprint of the day at the top of a hill 6 km from the finish,” the race director said.“ Bearing in mind that Paris-Nice is often decided by a few seconds, bonus time will be interesting to pick up especially as there will be more to grab on the finish line. I’m not saying that they will go all the way but I believe that we’re going to see Vingegaard and Pogacar at the front,” he added. Still quite a few of the sprinters at the start are capable of going over the last climbs of the day, including the Millon-la-Chapelle or 17 Tournants hills: “A lot will depend on the intensity of the race when the peloton reaches them. The Millon-la-Chapelle climb is a small wall, but riders like Arnaud De Lie, Michael Matthews or Mads Pedersen should be able to cope. Actually anything is possible.”
JONAS VINGEGAARD: “I’M READY FOR THE BEST”
Tour de France champion Jonas Vingegaard is tackling his first Paris-Nice with a lot of ambitions, knowing that he has to beat his arch-rival Tadej Pogacar in the week ahead in order to be crowned on the Promenade des Anglais. “I’m excited, it’s always nice to race against Tadej. He’s always very strong so yeah it will be a nice week”, he told a press conference ahead of Sunday’s start in la Verrière. Winner of the three stages and the GC of the Gran Camino, his first race of the season, the Dane admitted he was in great shape but so is the case of his Slovenian opponent. “It was very nice to win three stages out of three in the Gran Camino. My training went well before and my shape was good. I think I’m ready for this race and ready for the best and fighting for victory,” he said. Asked about the course, the Team Jumbo-Visma leader said it was extremely varied and versatile. “There’s almost everything. The first stage will be about crosswinds, then we have the team time trial, and then a climbing stage at the start. Basically there’s a bit of everything and I can’t say there is one stage that stands out as the most important one,” he said. “The team time trial, for sure it’s important, we have to discuss it because the rules are different, we might have to use different tactics. We have to see about it.”
TADEJ POGACAR: “IT WOULD BE NICE TO WIN ALL THE STAGES. BUT… NO”
Riding his first Paris-Nice, Tadej Pogacar admits the Race to the Sun would be “nice to add to his palmares”, yet the UAE team leader expects fierce competition all the way to the French Riviera. This 81st edition is all the more exciting as the level of the field is extremely high with the last two Tour de France winners, Pogacar and Dane Jonas Vingegaard, standing as clear favourites for final victory. “For sure Jonas is in great shape but I’m also in good shape, it’s going to be fun, it’s going to full on until the line and it’s not going to be easy,” said the Slovenian, winner of the Tour of Andalucia last month. Both Pogacar had impressive starts to the season, each sweeping almost all the races they entered, the Slovenian winning three stages in Andalucia while the Dane also picked three wins in the Gran Camino. “I don’t plan ever to win a stage I just plan to go good in each stage but it’s not like Andalucia when every stage was super hard. It would be nice to win all the stages but no, unfortunately no,” he said. Two of the big question marks of this Paris-Nice are the team time trial on stage 3, which will be clocked on the time of the fastest rider in each team and the summit finishes in La Loge des Gardes on stage 4 and La Couillole on the penultimate day. “More or less all the teams will race a similar time trial as a normal team time trial as you’re faster with more guys around you anyway. But I won’t tell you how we’re going to race. You will see on stage 3,” said Pogacar. And he admitted he seldom knew anything about the climbs on the course before the final day in Nice. “I don’t really know any of the climbs except for the last stage. I really know the last stage. It’s like my home stage. And I have an idea about the penultimate stage but I don’t know any of the climbs before that. We have Google Earth and the radios. A climb is a climb anyway, you have to push good power,” he said.
SIMON YATES: PARIS-NICE IS A RACE I REALLY ENJOY
After finishing second twice in 2018 and 2022, Simon Yates will start Paris-Nice for the 8th time with real ambitions despite the strength of the field. “It’s been a different start to my season compared to the last couple of years after starting in Australia and it was nice to kick things off with a stage win at the Tour Down Under,” said the Briton, winner of four stages in the Race to the Sun in the past. “I’ve had success at Paris-Nice before and it’s a race I really enjoy, particularly the last stage around Nice. The team time trial on stage three should make things interesting for the GC, but I think we have a really strong team for it,” the Team Jayco AlUla leader added. Yates won on all terrains in Paris-Nice previously – a bumpy stage in Fayence in 2017, a mountain stage at La Colmiane in 2018, an individual time trial in Barbentane in 2019 and the final stage last year in Nice. “It’s always a stacked field and a challenging course, but we are all ready and I’m looking forward to a solid eight days of racing,” he said.
KEVIN VAUQUELIN : AMBITIOUS AND HUMBLE
French hopeful Kevin Vauquelin (Arkea-Samsic) tackles first stage race at World tour level with ambition after winning the Tour des Alpes Maritimes et du Var three weeks ago. But the 21-year-old stays modest about his chances in the Race to the Sun. “Of course it’s impressive to start my very first Paris-Nice, a stage race whose reputation is well established. It’s a major race of the early season, certainly one of the first highlights of the season with a beautiful course which is a one-week summary of the Tour de France with stages for sprinters, a time trial, even though it’s a little bit specific this year, and really bumpy stages towards the finish,” he said. “The leader’s jersey is yellow too. I’m starting the race the way as I always do, with ambition but also humility. I have a little more pressure but I take it easy because I know that with the whole Arkea Samsic team, we’re going to try and to our best. We recently went training in the south and we checked out the last three stages of the Race to the Sun. It allowed me to know my way around. It’s definitely a plus.”
For its 6th edition, Paris-Nice Challenge is giving all cycling fans a chance to slip into the shoes of a real professional rider under the Côte d’Azur sun on Saturday 11 March 2023. The cyclosportive in the heart of the Nice countryside marks the launch of the season in an idyllic setting. Just 24 hours before the peloton, it will offer more than 1,200 cyclists the opportunity to ride the route of the last stage of Paris-Nice: 128km from the famous Promenade des Anglais, 2,400m of positive altitude difference and a finish at the gates of the Paris-Nice village on the Quai des États-Unis.