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Riviera Pebbles Blog: What's On: 73rd Edition of the Paris–Nice Stage Race

Posted on 5th Mar 2015 in What's On


Photo: Mike Slone/Flickr

England was swept up with cycling mania last year as the Grand Départ of the 2014 Tour de France took place across North West in what was dubbed Le Tour de Yorkshire. At Pebbles we were lucky enough to have the peloton pass through right on the door stop of our UK office in Glossop! Somehow another year has passed already, and the build-up to the Grand Tours of 2015 has started once more.

Last weekend was host to the cycling 'pre-season friendlies': the Belgian Classics. The Om Loop Het Nieuwsblad and Kuurne–Brussels–Kuurne were won respectively by Ian 'Yogi' Stannard and big name Mark Cavendish. The first of the year's stage races comes in the form of Paris-Nice. The starting line will be at Maurepas on the outskirts of Paris, with a slight kick out westwards into Centre-Bourgogne, before reverting to the south-easterly line through the Auvergne and Massif Central towards the blue skies of the Cote d'Azur.

Stage 6 - 14.03.15

On the weekend of the 14th of March the riders will descend on Nice for the final two stages. Saturday's penultimate, a mountain stage from Vence to Nice, is a race that closely resembles defining stage of last year’s route. Comprised of six lactic-acid pumping climbs, each between five and ten kilometres in length with gradients hovering consistently around 5%, the welcome downhill run will see riders attacking hard and fast in what is sure to be an exciting finish.

Best place to watch:

If you fancy heading out to the hills, the Col de Vence is the hardest of the bunch at 9.7 kilometres long with a 6.6% incline. The peloton will pass between 12:30 and 13:00 so if you time it right, you'll be able to get back to Nice for the race's end in Nice. You can catch the sprint on the final bend at Corniche André de Joly or in the straight on the Promenade des Anglais.

Stage 7 - 15.03.15

Stage seven is the crucial individual time-trial from Nice to the Èze, finishing with the climb up the Col d’Èze. At 4.7% gradient it's not steepest in the race in the world, but with several sections hitting 7%+ over its 9.6 kilometres and no teammates to hide behind, its one that sets the men from the boys.

Best place to watch:

You can watch the riders role out from the starting platform on Boulevard Bischoffsheim in Nice but for the real action take the Number 82 Bus (Ligne Vauban - Plateau de la Justice) to the Col d'Èze and find yourself a spot up on Avenue des Diables Bleus.

Who to Look for:

Although the big 3, Chris Froome, Vincenzo Nibali and Alberto Contador are riding the coinciding Tirreno-Adriatico this year, there's still plenty of familiar faces to look out for. Team Sky's Richie Porte will be there. Porte sealed his Paris-Nice win in 2013 with the fastest time up the climb – Team Sky will undoubtedly be looking for a performance from him, or teammate Geraint Thomas, winner of this year's Volta ao Algarve in Portugal. Sir Bradley 'Wiggo' Wiggins will also be riding with Team Sky; keep your eyes peeled for the signature rainbow jersey, mod stickers and well groomed beard.


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