Paris-Nice 2022 – Overall preview – Ciclismo Internacional

By @EchelonsHub

The Race to the Sun is to take place this week, one of the main World Tour stage-races which will traverse France from north to south which always lures in some of the main sprinters, climbers and classics riders who are looking to build on their form. 

The Route

The opening stage, a very open day which can either finish on a sprint with a reduced peloton or perhaps a late attack in a hilly finally. 

Stage two is pan-flat and the only opportunity for the pure sprinters to go uncontested. Wind may affect the day, but it should be a calmer day.

Sprint stage but with a complicated finale. Surely a reduced bunch sprint, perhaps with all the fast men present but they may struggle in the final uphill meters. 

The race’s time-trial is only 13 kilometers long and is quite hilly. There won’t be huge gaps, but in a one-week race every second is important. 

A very open stage. In the final day it’d be perfect, but before the big mountains it may be a bit conservative, perhaps a breakaway day. If not, it is both possible to see GC raid, a late attack or even a small sprint towards the end. 

This is a textbook breakaway day. Mountains coming up next so GC riders will rest up, there is also too much climbing for most sprinters so likely it’ll be a day for those who are looking to attack early on. 

Queen stage. It’s short, and it’s all about the final climb, but the ascent is hard as the peloton goes up the Col de Turini, quite a long climb and one of the hardest faced in the season so far. 

Final day is usually quite exciting at Paris-Nice and this year there is even more reason for it to be the case. The route is a classic, but the final ascent of the Col d’Èze is through a new side which features quite a hard section at it’s middle. Short explosive day which can still turn the GC upside down. 

The Weather of the week

Rain may not be present but wind will as usual, in the second stage mainly which may be dangerous. Cold temperatures for the rest of the race. 

GC Contenders 

The time-trial won’t have as much effect as usual in the race. This year, the climbs will be the decisive factor mostly, and there is one obvious favourite to the GC which is Primoz Roglic, which despite having given no proof of great form, is essentially in great form all year long and does not have a weak point through which he can be attacked, having Wout van Aert aswell as a possibility for the GC. 

On the side of those who will be very near, or ahead of him in the time-trial we have UAE duo João Almeida and Brandon McNulty. BORA duo Aleksandr Vlasov and Max Schachmann (the Russian mostly) will also be tough competition as he comes in with great form, INEOS have Daniel Martinez and Adam Yates, BikeExchange have Simon Yates, Astana come with Alexey Lutsenko and Bahrain have Jack Haig and Wout Poels capable of fighting for the win of the race. 

You then have some other riders who will have some time to make up, although they can very well do so in the mountains which include Arkéa’s Nairo Quintana who’s coming in with great form and David Gaudu as the best pure climbers. Guillaume Martin should also do good but on the back foot due to the time-trial. Ben O’Connor, Bauke Mollema and Pierre Latour are some more riders who are expected to be near the head of the race in the mountains and can fight for the overall classification. 

The Sprinters 

Sprinter stages won’t come often but there will be opportunities, and in this race there will be top notch competition in the bunch finishes. Fabio Jakobsen and Jasper Philipsen have been the best sprinters of the season so far and they will have their first head-to-head in French roads. 

They will be joined by Wout van Aert who can realistically target most stages, however for sure he’ll eye the sprints aswell. Sam Bennett, Mads Pedersen and Dylan Groenewegen will also be big contenders from the flat stages, with Rudy Barbier and Cees Bol as possibilities aswell. In the hillier finales the likes of Sonny Colbrelli, Juan Sebastian Molano and Bryan Coquard may have a big role in fighting for the stages. 

Prediction Time 

⭐⭐⭐Roglic, A.Yates 

⭐⭐Almeida, McNulty, Vlasov, Haig, Martínez, Quintana 

⭐Van Aert, S.Yates, Lutsenko, Poels, Gaudu, G.Martin, O’Connor, Latour

I won’t go with the traditional bet on Primoz Roglic here, I think competition will be serious and Adam Yates one of the main gaslighters, who will profit from the hard route to capitalize on his form and climbing prowess. 

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Tomorrow’s race has prizes of at least €2000 and an entry fee of only €7. Make good use of your knowledge! 

Rúben Silva

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