The 2021 French calendar's traditional opening race, the Grand Prix Cycliste la Marseillaise, is due to take place on Sunday, January 31, even as the ongoing coronavirus pandemic has led to cancellations or rescheduling requests from numerous organisers for the second year in a row.
With the window of opportunity potentially closing, teams and riders are scrambling to put in whatever racing kilometres they can manage and organisers of the GP Marseillaise have expanded the course and their coverage to suit the need for publicity.
Cyclingnews will bring you full live coverage, reports, results, news, interviews and analysis of the Grand Prix Cycliste la Marseillaise 2021. Read on to find out how to watch the Grand Prix Cycliste la Marseillaise via live stream, no matter your location, with ExpressVPN.
As of January 26, the race organisers of the Grand Prix Cycliste la Marseillaise have promised the race will go ahead, unlike the Challenge Mallorca, which would have been taking place in Spain but has instead requested new dates in May.
The GP Marseillaise is typically less than 150km long to give riders a gentler re-entry into racing after a long winter. But now that riders come out of the off-season with more form, and in particular because of the late finish of the 2020 season, the race will be 171 kilometres in length.
It's a lumpy parcours that starts with a neutral rollout to Allauch, heading over several long but shallow climbs - the Montée le Terme, Pas de la Couelle, Col de l'Espigoulier and Les Bastides at Roquefort-la-Bedoule - as the route heads North toward Fuveau before turning back south to the coast.
The route gets serious in the final 35 kilometres as the riders head out of Cassis and up a far steeper ascent on the Route des Cretes (3.9km at 7.9 per cent), and with just over 10km to go the Col de la Gineste (7.2km at 3.1 per cent), and a fast run to the line in Marseille at the Orange Velodrome.
The race will take place 'behind closed doors' with strict COVID-19 protocols, with seven WorldTeams: AG2R Citroën Team, Cofidis, EF Education-Nippo, Groupama-FDJ, Intermarché-Wanty Gobert Matériaux, Lotto Soudal, and UAE Team Emirates; seven ProTeams: Team Arkea-Samsic, B&B Hotels p/b KTM, Bingoal WB, Caja Rural-Seguros RGA, Delko, Equipo Kern Pharma, Sport Vlaanderen-Baloise, and Total Direct Energie; and two Continental squads, St Michel-Auber 93, and Xelliss-Roubaix Lille Metropole.
2020 winner Benoit Cosnefroy (AG2R-Citroën) won't be on the start line to defend his title, instead the team's new recruit Lilian Calmejane is due to wear the number one dossard.
Other team leaders include Matteo Trentin in his debut with UAE Team Emirates, John Degenkolb, Philippe Gilbert and Tim Wellens (Lotto Soudal), and Edvald Boasson Hagen making his debut with Total Direct Energie.
Check below for all the details of how to watch the Grand Prix Marseillaise.
Follow Cyclingnews on Twitter, Facebook and Instagram for alerts on important stories and action during the race. Meanwhile, ExpressVPN can help you watch the Grand Prix Cycliste la Marseillaise, no matter your location.
The Grand Prix Cycliste la Marseillaise are being aired live across Europe via Eurosport and on the Eurosport Player.
The race doesn't appear to be airing in North America.
In France, there will be extended coverage on France 3, with the teams presentation live streaming on Facebook at 10:40am (CEST) on Provence-Alpes and France 3 Côte d'Azur, which may not be geo-restricted.
If you live outside a broadcast zone or are on holiday outside your country and find that the live streams to be geo-restricted, you can get around this by getting access to them by simulating being back in your home country via a 'virtual private network', or VPN, for your laptop, tablet or mobile.
TechRadar tested hundreds of VPNs and recommends the number-one VPN currently available as Express VPN. With ExpressVPN, you can watch on many devices at once including Smart TVs, Fire TV Stick, PC, Mac, iPhone, Android phone, iPads, tablets, etc.
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