Race organisers ASO have been forced to reroute the final two stages of Paris-Nice after facing pressure from local authorities and the mayor of Nice, who were keen to keep the race away from the Promenade des Anglais seafront as they look to ease a local COVID-19 lockdown.
The race will still complete eight stages of racing this Sunday but ASO will not bring the race to the Mediterranean city and will instead change the last two stages.
"The organization has proposed a plan B, outside the confined zone," mayor of Nice Christian Estrosi said to local media on Friday, according to L'Equipe.
This is the second year the race has been forced to make alterations due to the global pandemic. In 2020 the race ended on stage 7 and failed to make it to Nice for the final day of racing with Max Schachmann (Bora-Hansgrohe) declared the official winner.
This year Paris-Nice will complete eight stages but the alterations to stages 7 and 8 could have a dramatic impact on the outcome of the event. Primoz Roglic (Jumbo Visma) currently leads Paris-Nice.
The final stage was due to finish on the Promenade des Anglais, the typical setting for the race’s finale. Instead riders will now start stage 8 in Plain-du-Var away from the city, before taking on two circuits that include the Côte de Duranus and a finish in Levens, a small village around 20km inland from Nice.
The stage length has also been altered from 110.5km to 92.5km, with a climb up to Levens.
Stage 7 was due to start from Nice and finish at Valdenblore La Colmiane with 165.5km of mountainous racing that included four major ascents. Although the first category finish remains in place, the start has been scrapped and moved to le Broc, with a revised distance of 119.5km.
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