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2017 Paris-Nice: Stage 5 preview

Marcel Kittel is looking for victory in Paris-Nice today. (Via BaldBoris, Wikimedia Commons)
Roar Guru
8th March, 2017
0

Stage 5 of Paris-Nice is the final sprint finish of the race, and should be chaotic if the others are anything to go by.

Starting in the town of Quincié-en-Beaujolais, the riders travel 200 kilometres to the finishing sprint in the town of Bourg-de-Péage.

The stage is rolling for the first half, before the 100 kilometres to go point, where there is only one major difficulty left to contend with before the finish, being the final of two categorised climbs.

The second categorised climb, the Côte de Saint-Uze, is 2.7 kilometres at 6.5 per cent.

This climb is completed with under 50 kilometres to go, and should not play a major factor in the final outcome of the stage. However, with a Category 3 climb earlier in the stage, there’s a launching pad for any of the climbers looking for honors in the King of the Mountains competition.

The last kilometre of the stage will be hectic, with the road dropping sharply just after the one-kilometre-to-go banner, before a slightly uphill 400 metres to the finish line.

Thhere have been three sprints to date in the race so far, each with different winners.

Frenchman Arnaud Demare (FDJ) took out a windy Stage 1, which saw him outsprint compatriot Julian Alaphillipe in a reduced bunch kick. Demare will be looking to continue his good form on this stage as he sets himself up for the cobbled classics starting at the end of the month and his defence of Milan-San Remo.

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Stage 2 was extremely wet, and was taken out by Italian Sonny Colbrelli (Bahrain Merida), who put in an outstanding burst from the front to hold off quality competition including Demare and John Degenkolb (Trek-Segafredo). For a punchy rider like Colbrelli, it was an incredible achievement to go from so far out, and hold off the pure sprinters.

Stage 3 was completely dry and offered the pure sprinters a chance. In another shock, Sam Bennett (Bora Hansgrohe) pulled out of the wheel of Marcel Kittel (Quick-Step Floors) to finish ahead of Alexander Kristoff (Katusha-Alpecin) and Degenkolb to take the biggest win of his career.

With Kittel and Griepel not featuring heavily in the sprints to date, they will be looking to get their leadout trains right on today’s stage. Other riders to look out for include Michael Matthews (Team Sunweb), Bryan Coquard (Direct Energie) and Dylan Gronwegen (Lotto NL-Jumbo).