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Paris-Nice: Top ten stages from the last 10 years

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Floyd Landis wearing yellow at Paris-Nice this year

Floyd Landis wearing yellow at Paris-Nice this year
(Image credit: Hedwig Kröner)
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The final Paris-Nice podium was an all-Spanish affair.

The final Paris-Nice podium was an all-Spanish affair.
(Image credit: www.ispaphoto.com)
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Alberto Contador (Astana) takes aim at his second Paris-Nice title

Alberto Contador (Astana) takes aim at his second Paris-Nice title
(Image credit: Bettini Photo)
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Rebellin finally wins Paris-Nice after finishing on the podium three times.

Rebellin finally wins Paris-Nice after finishing on the podium three times.
(Image credit: Bettini Photo)
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Alberto Contador (Astana) is flanked by Caisse d'Epargne's Luis Leon Sanchez and Alejandro Valverde on the Paris-Nice podium

Alberto Contador (Astana) is flanked by Caisse d'Epargne's Luis Leon Sanchez and Alejandro Valverde on the Paris-Nice podium
(Image credit: Sirotti)
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2004 winner Jörg Jaksche

2004 winner Jörg Jaksche
(Image credit: AFP)
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Bobby Julich (Team CSC)

Bobby Julich (Team CSC)
(Image credit: Sirotti)
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Alberto Contador (Astana) shows the effects of a hard-fought victory in the 2010 Paris-Nice

Alberto Contador (Astana) shows the effects of a hard-fought victory in the 2010 Paris-Nice
(Image credit: Sirotti)
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Alexander Vinokourov (Astana) concentrates before the start.

Alexander Vinokourov (Astana) concentrates before the start.
(Image credit: Isabelle Duchesne)
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The final jersey winners from the 2009 Paris-Nice: Kevin Seeldrayers, Leon-Luis Sanchez, Sylvain Chavanel and Tony Martin.

The final jersey winners from the 2009 Paris-Nice: Kevin Seeldrayers, Leon-Luis Sanchez, Sylvain Chavanel and Tony Martin.
(Image credit: Florian & Susanne Schaaf)
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Yellow jersey Robert Gesink came in 1'29 down on stage winner Sylvain Chavanel after having to do all the chasing himself.

Yellow jersey Robert Gesink came in 1'29 down on stage winner Sylvain Chavanel after having to do all the chasing himself.
(Image credit: AFP Photo)
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And Sylvain Chavanel was the beneficiary.

And Sylvain Chavanel was the beneficiary.
(Image credit: Florian & Susanne Schaaf/cyclingpictures.de)
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Alberto Contador (Astana) celebrates after winning Paris-Nice overall.

Alberto Contador (Astana) celebrates after winning Paris-Nice overall.
(Image credit: AFP Photo)
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Lars Boom (Rabobank) earned the Paris-Nice leader's jersey with his prologue victory.

Lars Boom (Rabobank) earned the Paris-Nice leader's jersey with his prologue victory.
(Image credit: AFP)
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2011 Paris-Nice route map

2011 Paris-Nice route map
(Image credit: ASO)
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Peter Sagan (Liquigas-Doimo) on the podium after collecting a Paris-Nice stage win

Peter Sagan (Liquigas-Doimo) on the podium after collecting a Paris-Nice stage win
(Image credit: AFP)
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The Paris-Nice peloton snakes its way through central France

The Paris-Nice peloton snakes its way through central France
(Image credit: Sirotti)
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Lars Boom (Rabobank) en route to victory in the Paris-Nice prologue.

Lars Boom (Rabobank) en route to victory in the Paris-Nice prologue.
(Image credit: AFP)
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Davide Rebellin (Gerolsteiner) proved he is on grand form by winning the Paris-Nice overall

Davide Rebellin (Gerolsteiner) proved he is on grand form by winning the Paris-Nice overall
(Image credit: Bettini Photo)
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Lars Boom (Rabobank) shoots off the front of the peloton to make the split.

Lars Boom (Rabobank) shoots off the front of the peloton to make the split.
(Image credit: AFP Photo)
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Thor Hushovd (Crédit Agricole) during his winning ride of the opening Paris-Nice day.

Thor Hushovd (Crédit Agricole) during his winning ride of the opening Paris-Nice day.
(Image credit: AFP)

Paris-Nice is traditionally the first stage race of the season where the Tour de France contenders show their intent for later in the season.

The finally balanced race route always shows who is on form and often reveals some fascinating tactical weaknesses.

As this year's race nears, we review how Paris-Nice was won since 2001.

2001 - Col d'Eze time trial (Stage 6)
This was the last time that the traditional uphill time trial in Col d'Eze ran as the penultimate stage. Dario Frigo used it to win overall, unseating Belgian Peter Van Petegem on the 10 kilometre-long climb from Nice. The race continues to use a portion of the ascent as the crux of the final stage, with riders heading up 4.3km to the Col d'Eze before plunging to the finish in Nice.

2002 - Mont Faron (Stage 4)
Alexandre Vinokourov claimed victory on Mont Faron, 28 seconds ahead of Laurent Jalabert, to deprive Didier Rous of the race lead. Rous had no answer when Jalabert attacked at the base of Mont Faron. Vinokourov, together with the late Andrei Kivilev, was able to match the Frenchman before Vino put in his stage-winning move. A strong ride on the Col d'Eze on stage 6 cemented Vinokourov's first Paris-Nice victory.

2003 - Mont Faron (Stage 5)
Vinokourov used his good form and a huge burst of emotion to unseat Dario Frigo on the slopes of Mont Faron. Fighting the tremendous grief of losing his close friend Kivilev in a crash on stage two, Vinokourov not only continued the race, but dominated the critical stage, storming out of the lead chasing group and past Laurent Brochard on the final pitch to Mont Faron. It was his second Paris-Nice title.

2004 - Vanves TT (Stage 1)
Jörg Jaksche won the 13km time trial on the first day, and with only a four second lead over Davide Rebellin, his overall win seemed only a remote possibility. However, with cunning strategy from CSC director Bjarne Riis, Jaksche was able to increase his advantage on the next day during what should have been a sprinter's stage. CSC put all eight men into the front echelon to open significant gaps to all of the race favourites. Jaksche carved out a few more seconds on Rebellin over the course of the week to claim his career's biggest win.

2005 - Mont Faron (Stage 5)
Sometimes overall victory in a stage race is secured without a rider also taking a stage victory. In 2005 that was the case for Bobby Julich, who quietly rode into the Paris-Nice lead behind stage winner Gilberto Simoni on Mont Faron. Julich's race winning move came the day before to Montélimar, when he wisely followed an attack by Fassa Bortolo's rising star, Fabian Cancellara. Consistent performances and strong support from his CSC team gave the American his best result since his podium at the 1998 Tour de France.

2006 - St-Etienne (Stage 3)
After an attack on the Col de la Croix-de-Chaubouret (10km at 6.5 per cent) Patxi Vila captured the stage and Floyd Landis laid the foundation for overall victory. The American had won the Tour of California a few weeks before and so completed an early-season double.

2007 - Nice (Stage 7)
On the last climb of the stage over the Col d'Eze, Alberto Contador dropped race leader Davide Rebellin and blasted to the finish in Nice to win both the final stage and the overall classification. Rebellin finished 26 seconds. It was a breakthrough victory for Contador and he went on to win his first Tour de France that summer.

2008 - Cannes (Stage 6)
Surprisingly the stage finish on the slopes of Mont Ventoux wasn't the key moment of this year’s race. Robert Gesink won the stage and took the yellow jersey but then lost it two days after. Rebellin made up for his defeat in 2007 by joining the decisive attack on the descent of the Col de Tanneron to Cannes. Gesink lost 1:29 and Rebellin went on to finally win Paris-Nice.

2010- Mende (Stage 4)
As expected, the steep Montee Jalabert climb up to the finish above Mende was the decisive stage of the race. Contador dropped Alejandro Valverde and the rest of the peloton to win on the 10% climb and took the yellow jersey from Jens Voigt. Contador went on to win overall ahead of Valverde, although Valverde was later cancelled from the official results after his ban for doping was confirmed by the Court of Arbitration for Sport.