Wednesday, March 4, 2009

Racing to the Sun.

Eddy Merckx winning his first of three Paris-Nice in 1969.
Presse-Sports.

This Sunday is the start of the 67th Paris-Nice stage race or the 'Race to the Sun'. It's the first stage race of the season and gathers the new upcoming talent and determines who really is on early form.

Eight difficult stages totaling some 1200 kms in length. Stage one starts with a 9.3 km TT in Amilly. I'm looking forward to stage 6, as the potential winners will fight it out going up towards the highest point in the race. The Lure mountain, lovingly called the 'Little Sister of the Ventoux' is 1600 meters, 13.8 kms of climbing at a 6.6 % gradient will supply plenty of high pain. And its not over. On the last day, riders will have to go up the Col d'Eze(first category climb) before the final harrowing descent to Nice on the Promenade des Anglais.

Plenty of favorites...

Could Italian Rinaldo Nocentini(AG2R) revenge his heartbreak second place finish from last year? Spaniard Alberto Contador(Astana winner in 2007) could be the man to beat along with help from strong teammate Yaroslav Popovych(3rd last year). Luis-leon Sanchez(Caisse d'Espargne) is another rider that can win it all. Canadian veteran, Michael Barry(Team Columbia) will be in full support for Marcus Burghardt. I'd like him to win a stage.

Whichever rider that comes out on top can be assure... of a very special place in the Sun!

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