Paris-Nice 2015 to feature two time trials

Paris-Nice takes on a traditional flavor for 2015, including a prologue, a decisive mountaintop finish for stage 4, and a final-day TT

Paris-Nice returns to Yvelines, France to start the race’s 2015 edition with a prologue. The “race to the sun” runs March 8-15 and will also include a final time trial on the col d’Èze. A new mountaintop finish at the Col de la Croix de Chaubouret has also been added to attract grand tour riders to the spring race.

Paris-Nice organizer Amaury Sport Organisation characterizes the 2015 route as one that’s “stamped with ‘tradition.'”

The Maurepas prologue is expected to be technically challenging. The three stages that follow may give opportunists a few chances for glory, especially in the headwinds that are anticipated for stage 3.

However, stage 4’s 3,940-foot summit finish on the Col de la Croix de Chaubouret is likely to decide the overall champion. In the past, the Paris-Nice podium was often sorted out on the Mont Faron, or the col de la République; and more recently on the Lure Mountain, in Mende or at Mont Serein. This year, the leaders will battle on the hills above Saint-Etienne.

The final 10km climb averages 6.7 percent gradient and comes at the end of the longest stage of the week, 204km.

If the podium is still tightly bunched after stage 6, the individual time trial on the col d’Èze could decide the race on the final day of Paris-Nice.

Carlos Betancur (Ag2r La Mondiale) won the 2014 edition of Paris-Nice.

2015 Paris-Nice stages

March 8, prologue: Maurepas – Maurepas, 6.7km
March 9, stage 1: Saint-Rémy-lès-Chevreuse – Contres, 192km
March 10, stage 2: ZooParc of Beauval Saint-Aignan – Saint-Amand-Montrond, 172km
March 11, stage 3: Saint-Amand-Montrond – Saint-Pourçain-sur-Sioule, 179km
March 12, stage 4: Varennes-sur-Allier – Croix de Chaubouret, 204km
March 13, stage 5: Saint-Étienne – Rasteau, 192km
March 14,  stage 6: Vence – Nice, 181,5km
March 15, stage 7: Nice – Col d’Èze, 9.6km (individual time trial)

Twenty invited teams and their probable leaders:

Orica-GreenEdge: Matthews, Simon Yates (Aus)

Lotto-Soudal: Gallopin (F), Greipel (G)
Etixx-Quick-Step: Boonen (B), Tony Martin (G)

Movistar: Gadret (F)

United States
BMC Racing Team: Gilbert (B), Van Garderen (USA)
Cannondale-Garmin: Talansky (USA)
Trek Factory Racing: Jungels, Frank Schleck (Lux)

Ag2r La Mondiale: Bardet, Péraud (F), Bakelants (B)
Cofidis: Bouhanni (F), Navarro (Sp) Démare, Vichot (F)
Europcar: Coquard, Rolland, Voeckler (F)
Bretagne-Séché Environnement: Fédrigo (F), Sepulveda (Arg)

Giant-Alpecin: Barguil (F), Degenkolb (G)

Great Britain
Team Sky: Thomas, Wiggins (GB), Porte (Aus), Roche (Irl)

Lampre-Merida: Costa (P)

Astana: Aru (I), LL. Sanchez (Sp)

LottoNL-Jumbo: Kelderman, Hofland (Nl)

Katusha: Kristoff (N)
Tinkoff-Saxo: Majka (Pl)

IAM Cycling: Sylvain Chavanel (F), Frank (Swi)