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"Paris-Nice is a special race where I have always performed well. In addition, it is a very important one in terms of preparation because it gives you pace and provides a good base for the rest of the year."

Photo: Tim De Waele

ALBERTO CONTADOR

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MATTEO TOSATTO

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MICHAEL VALGREN

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PARIS - NICE

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PAWEL POLJANSKI

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RAFAL MAJKA

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ROBERT KISERLOVSKI

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SERGIO PAULINHO

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YURY TROFIMOV

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03.03.2016 @ 13:38 Posted by Emil Axelgaard

The WorldTour calendar gets back into action this weekend with its first European outing of the season, the historic French race, Paris-Nice. Alberto Contador, already a two-time winner of The Race to the Sun, returns to the race after a five year hiatus to lead Tinkoff’s assault over the eight-days that present the first real GC test of the season.

Commenting ahead of the race, Contador said: "Paris-Nice is a special race where I have always performed well. In addition, it is a very important one in terms of preparation because it gives you pace and provides a good base for the rest of the year. On the other hand, it's also a complicated race, because of the big number of rivals, its parcours and the weather conditions."

Lining up for Tinkoff from 6-13 March are Robert Kiserlovski and Sergio Paulinho, both of who started their seasons alongside Alberto in Portugal, as well as Polish duo Rafal Majka and Pawel Poljanski. The experienced Matteo Tosatto, as well as Russian road race champion, Yuri Trofimov, and young Danish talent Michael Valgren complete the team in France.

Looking at the challenges that present themselves at the race, Sport Director Steven De Jongh comments: “It’s going to be a hard race, starting with a fast prologue before the flat stages in which positioning will be key. Stage 1 features a section of gravel road and in these exposed stages there’s always the chance of crosswinds.”


Following the early sprint stages the attention turns to the climbers in the second half of the week. De Jongh continues: “The first goal is to not lose any silly time on the early stages, and to minimalise the risk of getting caught out before stage 3’s uphill finish where we will see who’s there for GC.”

This third road stage presents the first climbing test, covering six categorised climbs over the 165.5km parcours. The yellow jersey will likely be wrestled off the shoulders of one of the flat specialists on this day on the 3km ascent to the finish.

Particular focus can be paid to stage 6, the queen stage, which features the only mountain-top finish of the race, as well as the final day with a late ascent of the Col d’Eze after which it’s all downhill to the finish in Nice.

“The early stages could shape the race but the overall should be decided on the final weekend,” De Jongh added. “We have a strong team here with a mix of climbers, experienced riders and some younger guys too, and everyone is in good shape to support Alberto. We are ready to get the job done.”

Looking at this year's course, Contador highlights: "It is one of the toughest that I can recall, very hilly, but on the other hand it kicks off with a flat prologue that isn't technical at all, very well suited to specialists. I miss the time-trial on Col d'Eze which I have never been able to race, but instead it has two summit finishes, one for heavier riders and another for climbers."

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