|Nickname(s)||The Race to the Sun|
|Race director||Christian Prudhomme|
|Editions||72 (as of 2014)|
|First winner||Alphonse Schepers (BEL)|
|Most wins||Sean Kelly (IRL) (7 times)|
|Most recent||Carlos Betancur (COL)|
Paris–Nice, "the race to the sun", is a professional cycling stage race held each March. It was first held in 1933, and was won by Alfons Schepers of Belgium. The most successful rider in Paris–Nice has been Sean Kelly of Ireland, who won seven consecutive races from 1982 to 1988.
Despite its name the race has not always started in Paris, with towns in the outskirts (or south of Paris) often preferred. The final stage generally finishes on either the Promenade des Anglais in Nice or the Col d'Eze, a pass on the Haute Corniche road near the city.
During the 2003 race, Kazakhstan's Andrei Kivilev died as the result of a head injury sustained in an accident. His death prompted the UCI to mandate the use of helmets in all competition, except for the last part of a race with an uphill finish. The rule was later changed to require helmets at all times.
Paris–Nice is currently organised by the Amaury Sport Organisation (ASO). ASO also organizes other races (such as the Tour de France and Paris–Roubaix) and sporting events (including the Dakar Rally and the Paris Marathon).
The ownership of Paris–Nice has changed hands several times. For many years it was run by the French cycling journalist Jean Leulliot, and after his death by his family. It was then taken over by Tour de France winner Laurent Fignon before passing on to ASO. Since 2009 it has been one of 24 races on the UCI World Calendar, counting towards the UCI World Ranking.
In 1933 Albert Lejeune first conceived a bicycle race to promote his two newspapers, Le Petit Journal and Le Petit Nice (the former based in Paris and the latter in Nice), with a stage race between these two cities. It was held in March, at the end of winter and immediately following the winter track-cycling season (which then largely comprised six-day races); the six-stage road races was thus publicised as a "six-day on the road". At this time of year most high mountain roads were still impassable, so the route avoided the Alps and primarily followed the lower Rhone valley, with the only significant climbs on the outskirts of Nice. The race was run seven times between 1933 to 1939. The newspapers Lyon Républicain and Marseille-Matin also worked in partnership with Lejeune's titles to sponsor the race. In 1939, Ce Soir and Le Petit Nice were joined by L'Auto; the following year, the race was cancelled for the duration of World War II.
Ce Soir again organized the first post-war race in 1946; although its journalists (Georges Pagnoud and Francis Terbeen) were happy with the race, the newspaper dropped its sponsorship.
In 1951 the race was revived as "Paris-Côte d'Azur" by Route et Piste magazine at the behest of Jean Medecin, mayor of Nice, who desired to promote the Côte d'Azur. The Paris–Nice name was restored in 1954. During this period its status grew from a preparation and training race to an event in its own right. In 1957 Jean Leulliot, race director since 1951, left his role as editor-in-chief of Route et Piste and became the organiser of Paris–Nice through the company Monde Six.
In 1959 the race was run as Paris–Nice-Rome, with three classifications: one from Paris to Nice, a second from Nice to Rome and a third overall. The length of the race—1,955 kilometres (1,215 mi)—was criticised, and the formula was not repeated. The 1966 edition was the scene for a rivalry between Raymond Poulidor and Jacques Anquetil which divided France. In 1969, the race finish was first moved to the top of the Col d'Eze. Jean Leulliot died in 1982, and his daughter Josette succeeded him as head of Monde Six.
Sean Kelly of Ireland won in 1988 for the seventh time in seven years; as of 2012, he holds the record for wins. In 2000, former cyclist Laurent Fignon took over the organisation of the race from the Leulliot family. In 2002, he sold Paris–Nice to ASO (the company organising the Tour de France).
In 2003, the race was marred by the death of Kazakh rider Andrei Kivilev after a crash in the second stage (to Saint-Étienne). Kivilev was not wearing a helmet, and died that night. The following day the peloton agreed to neutralize the third stage, which they rode at a processional pace. Racing resumed in the fourth stage to Mont Faron, which saw a solo victory by Kivilev's compatriot Alexandre Vinokourov (who crossed the line holding a picture of his late friend).
Before its start, the 2008 edition of the race was marked by a dispute between race organiser ASO and the UCI. On March 7, two days before the start, Pat McQuaid (UCI president) announced that the teams starting the race would be suspended by the UCI. That day, the teams' association (AIGCP) voted by a majority (15 votes in favour, with 8 abstentions) to participate in the race. Meanwhile, the Court of Arbitration for Sport (to which the UCI ProTour teams referred the case) declared itself unable to judge the legality of any penalties that might be taken against riders or teams.
Since 2008, the overall leader has worn a yellow jersey. At the creation of the race in 1933, the leader's jersey was blue and gold (colors evoking the Mediterranean sun, which remained until 1939). In 1946, the leader's jersey was green. In 1951, the organization opted for a yellow jersey with orange piping; it changed to white from 1955 to 2001. In 2002, after the race was obtained by Amaury Sport Organization, the leader's jersey was yellow and white until 2007.
The points classification leader's jersey was green from 1954 to 1984, and there was no points classification from 1985 to 1996. Until 1999, it had the same sponsor as the yellow jersey's (Beghin-Say). The points jersey was pink and purple in 2000 and 2001, and green and white from 2002 to 2006.
The mountain jersey has white with red polka dots (as in the Tour de France) since the race's takeover by ASO in 2002. The classification was introduced in 1952, and the jersey color has changed several times. During the 1970s it was yellow and red; later, it was white and purple. In 1984 the jersey became yellow and blue (the colors of sponsor Crédit Lyonnais); the following year, it was blue. Agrigel became its sponsor in 1990, and changed the colors to yellow and blue.
The best young rider's jersey has been white since 2007; it was blue and white from 2002 to 2006.
Until 1962, the race began in Paris. Since 1963, the race has started from at least 22 different localities. Most years the start was in the Île-de-France region, including nine from Issy-les-Moulineaux (1980, 1983, 1984 and 2002–2007) and six from Fontenay-sous-Bois (1975 and 1991–1995). In 1982, the race started from Luingne, in the Belgian province of Hainaut. The race returned to Paris in 1986, 1987, 1989, 1990 and 2000. Four other towns outside the Paris region have hosted the start: Villefranche-sur-Saône in 1988, Châteauroux in 1996, Nevers in 2001 and Amilly in 2008.
The finish of the last stage of Paris–Nice was in Nice from 1933 to 1968 (on the Quai des États-Unis until 1939 and the Promenade des Anglais from 1946 to 1968. Between 1968 and 1995 the race finished with a time trial up the Col d'Eze, except in 1977 when landslides blocked the road. The first five finishes up the climb were fought between Eddy Merckx and Raymond Poulidor, Merckx winning the first three but conceding to Poulidor the following two. Poulidor also set a record time of 20:04 for the climb in 1972. Joop Zoetemelk of the Netherlands won on the col from 1973 to 1975, also taking the overall victory in 1974 and 1975. He repeated the feat in 1979, a year after his compatriot Gerrie Knetemann. The stage saw an Irish winner nine times during the 1980s: from 1982 to 1988 Sean Kelly won Paris–Nice seven times and the Col d'Eze stage on five occasions, breaking Poulidor's record in 1986. Stephen Roche (winner in 1981) again won the stage in 1985, 1987 and 1989. Four other winners on the col also won the general classification: Tony Rominger in 1991 and 1994, Jean-François Bernard in 1992 and Alex Zülle in 1993. In 1995, Vladislav Bobrik defeated Laurent Jalabert.
In 1996, the finish was moved back to the Promenade des Anglais because of the low number of spectators on Col d'Eze and to take advantage of funding from the city of Nice. In 1996 and 1997 the final stage was a time trial in the streets of Nice, won by Chris Boardman and Viatcheslav Ekimov respectively. From 1998 to 2011, the final stage was a road race beginning and ending in Nice. From 1998 to 2002 the stage ended with a sprint finish, with Belgian Tom Steels winning twice. In 2003, the breakaway winner David Bernabeu was disqualified for failing a drug test. From 2005 to 2011 the final stage was hilly, climbing the Col de la Porte, La Turbie and the Col d'Eze. In 2007, Alberto Contador took first place from Davide Rebellin with an attack on the Col d'Eze. In 2012 the race returned to the Col d'Eze time trial, won by Bradley Wiggins on his way to overall victory.
Nice has hosted the most stage finishes (67 in 68 editions); only the 1991 race did not finish in Nice. Saint-Étienne has been a stage town 58 times, included without interruption from 1935 to 1939 and 1953 to 1995. Col d'Eze saw 29 finishes, followed by Nevers (20 finishes, especially during the 1930s, 1950s and 1990s), Mandelieu (17 from 1979 to 1995, including three on the Col du Grand Duke), Vergèze (15 ) Cannes (14), Marseille (13), Montceau-les-Mines (12 from 1960 to 1966) and Manosque (10).
While mountains have been traditionally avoided in planning Paris–Nice, they have seen increasing importance in the race. In addition to the Col d'Eze (which hosted finishes from 1969 to 1995), the number of mountain finishes grew during the 1980s. Mount Faron (introduced in 1968) was a stage finish in 1974, 1975, 1986–1992, 2002, 2003 and 2005, as was the Chalet-Reynard on Mont Ventoux in 1984, 1986 and 1987 and the Col du Grand Duke in Mandelieu la Napoule from 1991 to 1993. The 1986 race featured three mountaintop finishes. Mont Serein in 2008 and Lure mountain in 2009 are two mountaintop additions; Lure mountain had never been visited by a major race.
|1933||Schepers, AlphonseAlphonse Schepers (BEL)||La Française|
|1934||Rebry, GastonGaston Rebry (BEL)||Alycon|
|1935||Vietto, ReneRené Vietto (FRA)|
|1936||Archambaud, MauriceMaurice Archambaud (FRA)||Mercier-Hutchinson|
|1937||Lapebie, RogerRoger Lapébie (FRA)||Mercier-Hutchinson|
|1938||Lowie, JulesJules Lowie (BEL)||Pélissier-Mercier-Hutchinson|
|1939||Archambaud, MauriceMaurice Archambaud (FRA)||Mercier-Hutchinson|
|1946||Camellini, FermoFermo Camellini (ITA)||Olmo|
|1951||Decock, RogerRoger Decock (BEL)||Bertin|
|1952||Bobet, LouisonLouison Bobet (FRA)||Stella-Huret|
|1953||Munch, Jean-PierreJean-Pierre Munch (FRA)||Arliguie-Hutchinson|
|1954||Impanis, RaymondRaymond Impanis (BEL)||Mercier-BP-Hutchinson|
|1955||Bobet, JeanJean Bobet (FRA)||L.Bobet-BP-Hutchinson|
|1956||Bruyne, Fred DeFred De Bruyne (BEL)||Mercier-BP-Hutchinson|
|1957||Anquetil, JacquesJacques Anquetil (FRA)||Helyett|
|1958||Bruyne, Fred DeFred De Bruyne (BEL)||Carpano|
|1959||Graczyck, JeanJean Graczyck (FRA)||Helyett|
|1960||Impanis, RaymondRaymond Impanis (BEL)||Faema|
|1961||Anquetil, JacquesJacques Anquetil (FRA)||Helyett-Fynsec|
|1962||Planckaert, JosephJoseph Planckaert (BEL)||Flandria-Faema|
|1963||Anquetil, JacquesJacques Anquetil (FRA)||St.Raphael-Gitane|
|1964||Janssen, JanJan Janssen (NED)||Pelforth-Sauvage|
|1965||Anquetil, JacquesJacques Anquetil (FRA)||Ford-Gitane|
|1966||Anquetil, JacquesJacques Anquetil (FRA)||Ford-Hutchinson|
|1967||Simpson, TomTom Simpson (GBR)||Peugeot-BP-Michelin|
|1968||Wolfshohl, RolfRolf Wolfshohl (GER)||Bic|
|1969||Merckx, EddyEddy Merckx (BEL)||Faema|
|1970||Merckx, EddyEddy Merckx (BEL)||Faemino|
|1971||Merckx, EddyEddy Merckx (BEL)||Molteni|
|1972||Poulidor, RaymondRaymond Poulidor (FRA)||Gan-Mercier-Hutchinson|
|1973||Poulidor, RaymondRaymond Poulidor (FRA)||Gan-Mercier-Hutchinson|
|1974||Zoetemelk, JoopJoop Zoetemelk (NED)||Gan-Mercier-Hutchinson|
|1975||Zoetemelk, JoopJoop Zoetemelk (NED)||Gan-Mercier-Hutchinson|
|1976||Laurent, MichelMichel Laurent (FRA)||Miko-De Gribaldy|
|1977||Maertens, FreddyFreddy Maertens (BEL)||Flandria-Velda|
|1978||Knetemann, GerrieGerrie Knetemann (NED)||TI-Raleigh|
|1979||Zoetemelk, JoopJoop Zoetemelk (NED)||Miko-Mercier|
|1980||Duclos-Lassalle, GilbertGilbert Duclos-Lassalle (FRA)||Peugeot-Esso-Michelin|
|1981||Roche, StephenStephen Roche (IRL)||Peugeot-Esso-Michelin|
|1982||Kelly, SeanSean Kelly (IRL)||Sem-France Loire|
|1983||Kelly, SeanSean Kelly (IRL)||Sem-France Loire|
|1984||Kelly, SeanSean Kelly (IRL)||Skil-Sem-Reydel|
|1985||Kelly, SeanSean Kelly (IRL)||Skil-Sem-Reydel|
|1986||Kelly, SeanSean Kelly (IRL)||Kas-Mavic|
|1987||Kelly, SeanSean Kelly (IRL)||Kas|
|1988||Kelly, SeanSean Kelly (IRL)||Kas-Mavic|
|1989||Indurain, MiguelMiguel Indurain (ESP)||Reynolds|
|1990||Indurain, MiguelMiguel Indurain (ESP)||Banesto|
|1991||Rominger, TonyTony Rominger (SUI)||Toshiba|
|1992||Bernard, Jean-FrançoisJean-François Bernard (FRA)||Banesto|
|1993||Zulle, AlexAlex Zülle (SUI)||ONCE|
|1994||Rominger, TonyTony Rominger (SUI)||Mapei-CLAS|
|1995||Jalabert, LaurentLaurent Jalabert (FRA)||ONCE|
|1996||Jalabert, LaurentLaurent Jalabert (FRA)||ONCE|
|1997||Jalabert, LaurentLaurent Jalabert (FRA)||ONCE|
|1998||Vandenbroucke, FrankFrank Vandenbroucke (BEL)||Mapei-Bricobi|
|1999||Boogerd, MichaelMichael Boogerd (NED)||Rabobank|
|2000||Kloden, AndreasAndreas Klöden (GER)||Team Telekom|
|2001||Frigo, DarioDario Frigo (ITA)||Fassa Bortolo|
|2002||Vinokourov, AlexandreAlexandre Vinokourov (KAZ)||Team Telekom|
|2003||Vinokourov, AlexandreAlexandre Vinokourov (KAZ)||Team Telekom|
|2004||Jaksche, JorgJörg Jaksche (GER)||Team CSC|
|2005||Julich, BobbyBobby Julich (USA)||Team CSC|
|2006||Landis, FloydFloyd Landis (USA)||Phonak|
|2007||Contador, AlbertoAlberto Contador (ESP)||Discovery Channel|
|2008||Rebellin, DavideDavide Rebellin (ITA)||Gerolsteiner|
|2009||Sanchez, Luis LeonLuis León Sánchez (ESP)||Caisse d'Epargne|
|2010||Contador, AlbertoAlberto Contador (ESP)||Astana|
|2011||Martin, TonyTony Martin (GER)||HTC-Highroad|
|2012||Wiggins, BradleyBradley Wiggins (GBR)||Team Sky|
|2013||Porte, RichieRichie Porte (AUS)||Team Sky|
|2014||Betancur, CarlosCarlos Betancur (COL)||Ag2r-La Mondiale|
Winners by country
Most individual victories
- 7 wins
- 5 wins
- 3 wins (3)
- Eddy Merckx (1969, 1970, 1971)
- Joop Zoetemelk (1974, 1975, 1979)
- Laurent Jalabert (1995, 1996, 1997)
- 2 wins (7)
- Maurice Archamboud (1936, 1939)
- Fred de Bruyne (1956, 1958)
- Raymond Poulidor (1972, 1973)
- Miguel Indurain (1989, 1990)
- Toni Rominger (1991, 1994)
- Alexander Vinokourov (2002, 2003)
- Alberto Contador (2007, 2010)
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