The UCI World Tour peloton heads to France for the first time this year, with Paris-Nice set to begin on Sunday 10 March. Once again “The Race to Sun” will comprise of 8 tough stages, with something on offer for all rider types.

Team Dimension Data for Qhubeka will have a number of key objectives having selected a squad that will look at a good finish in the overall classification as well as be on the hunt for stage wins.

Who to watch…

Louis Meintjes – With a relatively flat time trial (stage 5) and only 1 summit finish (stage 7) at Col de Turini, it will be difficult for a pure climber like Louis to gain time on any of the favourites. He will be looking for a strong performance following his season-opener at the UAE Tour.

Edvald Boasson Hagen – Following his hugely impressive ITT win in Valencia, ‘The Boss’ looked to consolidate that as he started to build into his season. He was though affected by illness in the Algarve and was clearly still feeling the after-effects at the ‘Opening Weekend’. A number of opportunities will present themselves to the Norwegian in Paris-Nice which he’ll be looking at taking full advantage of as he returns to form.

He said what?

“I’m really looking forward to starting at Paris-Nice, it’s a long time since I’ve been at the race and it’s going to be interesting to see what it’s like. I hope that I perform better now than I did at the ‘Opening Weekend’. I’ve been struggling a bit since I was sick in the Algarve but I’ve been resting this week so hopefully I’ll be in better shape and get something out of the race and also, of course, hope for great success for the team. I’m really looking forward to starting there.” – Edvald Boasson Hagen

Key Stages

Stage 1-3: With Paris-Nice getting underway with 3 flat stages in the northern regions of France, it has attracted a strong sprinters field. Expect some exciting and fast, big bunch sprints.

Stage 8 – The queen stage of the race is probably stage 7 with the 15km Col de Turini finishing climb, but stage 8, at only 110km and including 6 categorized climbs around Nice, is certain to be an action packed stage.