2022 Paris-Nice Overall Preview

We head for Paris-Nice, the first big stop of the year for the GC riders. It’s the usual mix of stages, with the climbers keeping one eye on the weather forecast. A crash denied Roglič in 2021, will he make up for it this year?

Stage 1

Looks like a classic opening stage of PN to me, one that interests the sprinters and puncheurs. There’s a tricky climb inside the final 7km, but some of the fast men will expect to hold on.

Stage 2

Potential crosswind day, expect a nervous peloton.

Stage 3

A lumpy second half of the stage will get some of the sprinters worried, especially as the final 2.2km averages 3.1%. It’s a tricky finish, but it should really be won by a sprinter. It’s another day that could also explode given the right wind conditions.

Stage 4

A relatively easy 13.3km ITT, with a little wall at the end.

Stage 5

Too hard for the sprinters, not hard enough for the GC men. A nice-looking stage for the breakaway. 

Stage 6

At 213.5km, this is the longest stage in the race. With just under 3000m of climbing, it’s not the hardest day, but the placement of the final climb is bad news for the fast men. Saying that, sometimes the fast men can surprise in this race.

Stage 7

Mountaintop finish on Col de Turini. Dani Martínez won here back in 2019, it’s a tough climb.

Stage 8

The race ends with the classical Nice stage, a real favourite of mine. Hopefully the GC is still in the balance. Incredibly, we’ve not seen this stage since 2019.

Contenders

Primož Roglič – a crashed denied him the crown last year, he’s back to see if he can right that wrong. Jumbo-Visma have a very strong team to support him, don’t expect to see him getting caught out if the wind blows. Roglič is a rider who always seems to hit form for the big races, don’t read too much into his training rides last weekend in France. Some might think Van Aert can do something, but he’ll be here to ride for Primož, he’s the massive favourite to win the yellow jersey.

Ineos – Adam Yates and Martínez give the Brits two good options for this race. Yates will be a little worried about the TT, but he’s much improved in this discipline, so it shouldn’t be a problem. He was very close to breaking Pogačar over at the UAE Tour, if he arrives with similar legs he’ll be up there in the big stages. I think he’ll be the better option for Ineos.

Ben O’Connor – I’m looking forward to seeing him at this race. He was 7th in Andalucía, which was a good result considering the route. This is a huge race for AG2R, a good result for O’Connor would be well received by the team. If everything clicks, he has a chance of challenging for the podium.

Bahrain – Haig, Poels and Mäder give Bahrain three strong options for the yellow jersey. Poels is fresh from a brilliant win in Andalucía, where Haig also impressed. Mäder had a steady start in the UAE Tour, he should be better for having that race in his legs. Bahrain are quickly becoming one of the best teams in cycling, I’m looking forward to seeing what they can do this week.

Aleksandr Vlasov – the winner in Valenciana and fourth in UAE, it’s been a great start to the year for Vlasov. Bora arrive with a strong team, but Col de Turini will likely be too hard for defending champion Max Schachmann. It looks like Vlasov will be their chosen son and I would be surprised if he didn’t finish in the top 5.

Simon Yates – started well in Andalucía and should be confident of a good result here. He’ll be a little nervous looking at the current weather forecast, Yates doesn’t always go well in echelons. If he survives the “sprint” stages, he should be challenging for the yellow jersey as Col de Turini is a good climb for him.

UAE – McNulty and Almeida are two good options for the team. McNulty is currently in the form of his life, but will Col de Turini be a step too far for him? Almeida had a steady start in the UAE, this is his first target of the year. If you look at his results, he does have a little weakness in the high mountains, so we’ll have to wait and see how he copes with Col de Turini. 

Nairo Quintana – the wee man is on fire! Dominant displays in Provence and Haut-Var have got everyone wanting more. He won’t be worried about echelons, he’s one of the most impressive in tough conditions. He’ll lose time in the TT, but if he carries his recent form into this race, he could do serious damage on Col de Turini. 

Matteo Jorgenson – keep an eye out for my big pal! He’ll be hoping for echelons in the first three stages to help put time into some of the little climbers. His performance in Provence was very impressive, especially 3rdplace in the mountain stage. He has the disadvantage of being bigger than the climbers, but that day showed that he can cope with the tough climbs. Looking at the standard of climbers here, a top 10 result would be a huge achievement for the young American.

Prediction Time

Primož Roglič to make up for last year and take home the crown.

Share: