The final stage of Paris-Nice is set to be moved away from the planned finish on the Promenade des Anglais after the mayor of the city announced he wants the seafront to be available to local residents for three hours on Sunday rather than closed down for the race.
Nice has been in a strict lockdown in recent weeks after a spike in COVID-19 cases. Residents have been allowed to exercise outdoors for just an hour at weekends and the government has recently extended the lockdown to include the final weekend of Paris-Nice.
However, rather than close down a key part of the Promenade des Anglais for the finish of Paris-Nice, mayor Christian Estrosi announced on social media on Wednesday evening that he wants to move the race and open up the seafront for three hours to reward local residents for their help in reducing the number of COVID-19 cases.
Paris-Nice organiser ASO has alternative plans prepared for several stage of Paris-Nice due to the COVID-19 pandemic. The original 112km stage was due to start in the city and climb into the nearby hills before a fast descent to the Promenade des Anglais for the finish.
ASO declined to comment on Estrosi's announcement when contacted by Cyclingnews on Thursday.
Paris-Nice was the last race to be held before the spring lockdown in March 2020, with the final stage in Nice cancelled. Race director Christian Prudhomme is confident Paris-Nice can continue to head south this week but, prior to Estrosi’s announcement, he indicated that they remain ready to adapt and change the stages.
"We are very hopeful that we will reach the French Riviera this time in Paris-Nice,” Prudhomme told Het Nieuwsblad.
“The [COVID-19] figures in the Alpes Maritimes are moving in the right direction. We remain calm about it. If it turns out differently, we will adapt."
Thursday’s stage is from Vienne to Bollène and is suited to the sprinters.
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