Paris-Nice 2019 – Fierce battle for first timers

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The 77th edition of Paris-Nice starts with a stage around the royal city of St Germain en Laye. Weather conditions could create echelons and hamper chances of a bunch sprint finish.   Before the mountain battles at the end of the week, sprinters will however have several opportunities to shine. The competition should be fierce between Paris-Nice first-timers Mark Cavendish and Caleb Ewan but also Marcel Kittel, John Degenkolb, Alexander Kristoff, Dylan Groenewegen, Arnaud Demare, Andre Greipel, Sam Bennett or  Christophe Laporte.

A sprinter in the yellow jersey?

The design of stage 1 could point to a classic start to this 77th edition of Paris-Nice. A 138.5- kms circle around St Germain-en-Laye without any serious bump, it could normally lead to a bunch sprint. But after the Rambouillet forest, the peloton will tackle wind-exposed sections which could lead to decisive attacks according to race director Francois Lemarchand: “With the wind conditions forecast on Sunday, it is quite possible that echelons lead some Paris-Nice favourites to lose the race on day one. We’re not certain to have a bunch sprint even with such a sprinters field and with a long 4-km stretch in the finale.” Lemarchand also staged an intermediate sprint 3 km from the finish line to spice things up. “It’s 3 km from the finish and it’s not impossible that we’ll see the favourites battle it out for bonus seconds.”

Arrieta (Movistar): “We’re here to retain our title”

Movistar team director Jose Luis Arrieta said the Spanish outfit was back on Paris-Nice to retain the crown won a year ago by Spain’s Marc Soler.

“Of course our goal is to retain our title with Marc but also with Nairo Quitnana. Marc has been progressing each year and he is eager to retain his crown. But Nairo is also here to do his best,” he told

“He rode quite a lot in Colombia already. The Turini pass probably suits Nairo better but the time-trial suits Marc better. So the race will decide,” he added.

Heynderickx: “Cavendish will be back for sure”

Mark Cavendish is taking part in his first Paris-Nice after 14 pro seasons hoping to gauge his form after being side-lined by an Epstein-Barr virus. 

 “It was not easy for Mark to come back after his disease.  But if he’s here, it is to go for the bunch sprints, even if the field is a strong one. Don’t worry, he’ll be back,” Dimension Data team director Jean-Pierre Heynderickx told

“For the GC, our leader is Luis Meintjes. The Turini is a pass for strong climbers and it should suit him. Our goal for him is a top 10 finish,” he added.

Marc Sergeant: “Our goal is to win a stage with Caleb Ewan”

Lotto-Soudal team director Marc Sergeant made it clear that the aim of his team on this Paris-Nice was to win a stage with Australian sprinter Caleb Ewan.

 “Our goal is a simple one. We’re here to win a stage with Caleb. There are at least three chances to have a bunch sprint. But there are other good sprinters here and it won’t be that easy. I think Caleb is on the right track. He won one already”, he told

Sergeant added that the other hope for the team was for Thomas De Gendt to go for another stage as GC hopes were slim.

“At the last moment, Tim Wellens decided not to come because he finds the Turini too hard. He should know as he lives in Monaco. Then we also have a chance to win a stage with Thomas De Gendt, who is always capable of winning one.”

Guiberteau: “All for Laporte”

Cofidis team director Christian Guiberteau told that the French outfit were pinning all their hopes on Christophe Laporte. 

“The entry list is impressive. Our main asset here is Christophe Laporte for the sprints. We also have Nicolas Edet who has chances in the mountains especially as the polka-dot jersey is within reach in Paris-Nice. The Race to the Sun is not always true to its name. We will see what kind of weather we have on the Turini,” he said.

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