The 74th edition of Paris-Nice will feature a strong start list of general classification riders, stage hunters and sprinters. Race organisers ASO have confirmed team leaders for the 18 WorldTour and four Pro Continental squads that will contest the March 4-11 race.
Defending champion Sergio Henao will lead the charge for Team Sky, who have dominated the general classification since 2012. Sky's squad will include Wout Poels, who will also start as a favourite for the overall title.
Esteban Chaves (Mitchelton-Scott) makes his European season debut at Paris-Nice, and in his debut at the 'race to the sun' will aim to add to his Herald Sun Tour victory in early February. The Australian team can also look to Simon Yates for the general classification, while Matteo Trentin will be an option for the tougher sprint finishes.
American Tejay van Garderen was third last week at the Volta ao Algarve and leads the GC challenge for BMC Racing. He can count on support from Nico Roche in his bid for the yellow jersey.
UAE Team Emirates are one of several teams with dual ambitions at the race and will start with the aim of delivering Dan Martin to overall victory and Alexander Kristoff to stage wins. Martin was third overall last year and will be confident of at least a return to the podium. Former world champion Rui Costa is a versatile card for the team to play across the eight stages.
Lotto-Soudal are also chasing GC and stage win success, with Ruta del Sol winner Tim Wellens aiming for yellow. Andre Greipel will lead the charge in the sprints, while Thomas De Gendt will be looking to replicate his breakaway stage win from 2017.
Bahrain-Merida with their Izagirre brothers, Ion and Gorka, Bora-Hansgrohe's Peter Kennaugh, Sunweb's Sam Oomen, Jakob Fuglsang of Astana and Bauke Mollema of Trek-Segafredo will also be looking to impress on the general classification. Robert Gesink (LottoNL-Jumbo) and Ilnur Zakarin (Katusha-Alpecin) are two other riders to watch in the battle for overall victory.
There is strong French representation on the start list with riders capable of challenging for the GC and stage wins. Julian Alaphilippe at Quick-Step Floors, Tony Gallopin and Alexis Vuillermoz (AG2R La Mondiale), Warren Barguil (Fortuneo-Samsic), and Lillian Calmejane (Direct Energie) are also riders for the GC.
In the sprints, French duo Arnaud Démare (FDJ) and Nacer Bouhanni (Cofidis) will resume their rivalry but will be up against a number of other fast men, including Marcel Kittel (Katusha-Alpecin, Dylan Groenewegen (LottoNL-Jumbo), John Degenkolb (Trek-Segafredo) and Dan McLay (EF Education First-Drapac).
The eight-stage race is also crucial in the build-up for the Classics for a number of riders, including Belgian champion Oliver Naesen (AG2R-La Mondiale) and Michael Valgren (Astana).
Provisional 2018 Paris-Nice start list
AG2R La Mondiale: Tony Gallopin, Alexis Vuillermoz (Fra), Oliver Naesen (Bel)
Astana Pro Team: Jakob Fuglsang (Den), Luis Leon. Sanchez (Spa), Michael Valgren (Den)
Bahrain-Merida: Gorka Izagirre, IonIzagirre (Spa)
BMC Racing Team: Tejay van Garderen (USA), Jempy Drucker (Lux), Nico Roche (Irl)
Bora-Hansgrohe: Sam Bennett (Irl), Peter Kennaugh (GB)
Cofidis, Solutions Crédits: Nacer Bouhanni, Christopher Laporte (Fra), JesusHerrada (Spa)
Delko Marseille Provence KTM: Remy Di Gregorio (Fra), Edvald Siskevicius (Lit)
Direct Energie: Sylvain Chavanel, Lillian Calmejane (Fra), Rein Taaramäe (Est)
Groupama-FDJ: Arnaud Démare, Rudy Molard (Fra)
Lotto-Soudal: Tim Wellens, Thomas De Gendt (Bel), Andre Greipel (Ger)
Michelton-Scott: Esteban Chaves (Col), SimonYates (GB), MatteoTrentin (Ita)
Movistar Team: MarcSoler (Esp), Eduardo Sepulveda (Arg)
Quick-Step Floors: Julian Alaphilippe (Fra), Elia Viviani (Ita)
Team Dimension Data: Tom-Jelte Slagter (NL), Serge Pauwels (Bel), Natnael Berhane (Ery)
Team EF Education First Drapac Cannondale: Pierre Rolland (Fra), Dan McLay (GB)
Team Fortuneo-Samsic: Warren Barguil, Laurent Pichon, Pierre-Luc Périchon (Fra)
Team Katusha Alpecin: Marcel Kittel (Ger), Ilnur Zakarin (Rus)
Team Lotto NL-Jumbo: Lars Boom, Dylan Groenewegen, Robert Gesink (NL)
Team Sky: Sergio Henao (Col), Wout Poels (NL), David Lopez, David de la Cruz (Spa)
Team Sunweb: Sam Oomen (NL), Phil Bauhaus (Ger)
Trek-Segafredo: John Degenkolb (Ger), Bauke Mollema (NL), Jarlinson Pantano (Col)
UAE Team Emirates: Daniel Martin (Irl), Alexander Kristoff (Nor), Rui Costa (Por)
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