Paris-Nice Stage 1



Hello folks, its Paris-Nice time, the Race to the Sun is starting out with anything but sun. We're on the outskirts of Paris today, I'm Chris Rolfe and I'll take you through the next couple of hours

It's stage 1 today, a 135km race through the outskirts of Paris which should be one for the punchy sprinters, we finish on a Cat3 climb which could leave the door open for the climbers to get rid of the sprinters and contest the sprint themselves

Today's profile

And the map of today's stage

The final climb is just under 2km long and averaging 5%, it sounds perfect for Julian Alaphillipe but he'll have to get rid of the sprinters if he wants a stage win, Arnaud Demare and Edward Theuns have the ability to be there at the finish and I'm picking Demare as my winner for today

Its a murky, rainy day in Paris with plenty of wind, theres a few tight corners in the final few kilometres so expect the rain to play a part with plenty of teams jostling for position coming into the final climb

Live coverage now getting underway, Quickstep are on the front, chasing down a break of 3 that has a 58 second lead with 55km to race

Jurgen Roelandts, Pierre Rolland and Pierre-Luc Perichon are the men in the break, Roelandts took the first intermediate sprint so he's the provisional leader in the sprint category which he will lose before the end of the day, the gap is down to 44 seconds with 50km to race

Now coming to the top of the Cote de Meridon and Perichon kicks on to take the maximum points and that guarantees him the KOM jersey for tomorrow after winning the first climb of the day, the Cote des 17 Tournants

Dan Martin seems to be struggling a little, he's just drifted off the back of the peloton on this climb, the GC men need to be careful, so many of them lost any chance of winning the race on the first couple of stages last year