Race Director and 1983 and 1984 Tour champion Laurent Fignon, has announced the course and the team line up for the one week Paris – Nice stage race running from March 11 – 18th.
The course takes in the traditional areas of the Massif Central, the Rhone Valley, the Provencal Alps, and includes Mont Ventoux, but only has two time trial stages (prologue and penultimate stages) totalling 16.5km. This puts pressure on the huge 184 man / 23 team field to make the “real racing count”.
Like the Tour De France organisers, Fignon has gone for a heavily homegrown line up including the leading 8 French teams which he stated at the launch was “my contribution to the renewal of French cycling, which desperately needs it,”
With Armstrong’s USPS still keeping their “ballon” at home till the ‘Tour, the team listing goes like this;
AG2R, BigMat, Bonjour, Cofidis, Crédit Agricole, CSC, Domo, Euskatel, Fassa Bortolo, Festina, IBanesto.com, Jean Delatour, Kelme, La Française des Jeux, Lotto, Lampre, Mapei, Mercury, ONCE, Phonak, Saeco, Team Coast and Telekom (without Ullrich).
So get ready to see whose on form and who’s still hibernating, this time next month.