Preview – French Classic Paris-Tours


The 109th edition of French Classic Paris–Tours on October 11 could be a sprinters paradise or favour a brave attack in the finale

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Preview – French Classic Paris-Tours

The 109th edition of Paris–Tours could play out in several different ways, including a mass sprint with riders such as Nacer Bouhanni and Arnaud Démare. However, the final classic of the season favours strong attackers who have got what it takes to make the difference in the closing kilometres. There are plenty of them on the start list, with for instance Greg van Avermaet and Tony Gallopin.

Paris–Tours will be the final event of the season for most of the 184 riders on the start line. They will have 231 kilometres left to shine and go for one last bouquet, one that will perhaps add a touch of success to their season. The home straight on Avenue de Grammont is hallowed ground for the sprinters, who never give up in their quest to carve their marks in the places that have made the legend of cycling.

Should this scenario unfold, all eyes will be set on France’s top finishers, Nacer Bouhanni and Arnaud Démare, unless their successor in the French national championships, Steven Tronet, manages to spring a surprise. Their umpteenth clash for national supremacy will not be the only battle worth watching.

Some of the world’s elite sprinters will also be in the mix: Belgium’s Gianni Meersman and Jens Debusschere, the Netherlands’ Danny van Poppel and Moreno Hofland, Italy’s Matteo Pelucchi and Giacomo Nizzolo, Germany’s Gerald Ciolek and Niklas Arndt, and Ireland’s Sam Bennett, who will seek to capitalise on his sense of timing.

Many teams could fare well if it all comes down to a mass sprint in Tours, but they also have strong attackers who can dash the hopes of the peloton on the final difficulties, just like defending champion Jelle Wallays did in 2014.

Although all sorts of riders could shine in such circumstances, any attack by Greg Van Avermaet will send alarm bells ringing. Niki Terpstra and Tiesj Benoot also have legitimate claims to being the number 1 outsider. France will be counting on men such as Alexis Gougeard and Tony Gallopin, who are in the form of their lives, to bring home the bacon if attacks come thick and fast.

Key riders below:


23 teams selected, main riders:

MTN-Qhubeka: Ciolek (GER) and R. Janse van Rensburg (RSA)
Team Giant–Alpecin: Sinkeldam (NED) and Arndt (GER)
Bora-Argon 18: Bennett (IRL)
Lotto-Soudal: Debusschere (BEL), Benoot (BEL) and Gallopin (FRA)
Etixx–Quick Step: Meersman (BEL) and Terpstra (NED)
Wanty–Groupe Gobert: Marcato (ITA) and Leukemans (BEL)
TopSport Vlaanderen – Baloise: Wallays and Van Hecke (BEL)
BMC Racing Team: Van Avermaet (BEL)
Trek Factory Racing: D. van Poppel (NED) and Nizzolo (ITA)
Team Novo Nordisk: Lozano (ESP)
Ag2r–La Mondiale: Gougeard, Gaudin and Dumoulin (FRA)
FDJ: Démare and Reza (FRA)
Bretagne – Séché Environnement: R. Feillu, Fonseca (FRA) and Hutarovich (BLR)
Cofidis, Solutions Crédits: Bouhanni, Simon and Laporte (FRA)
Team Europcar: Arashiro (JAP) and Engoulvent (FRA)
Auber 93: Tronet and Levarlet (FRA)
Team Marseille 13 KTM: Konovalovas and Šiškevičius (LTU)
Roubaix Lille Métropole: Antomarchi (FRA), Planckaert and Vantomme (BEL)
Armée de Terre: Combaud (FRA)
Team Lotto–NL Jumbo: Vanmarcke (BEL) and Hofland (NED)
Roompot Oranje Peloton: Groenewegen (NED)
Tinkoff–Saxo: Bodnar (POL) and Breschel (DEN)
IAM Cycling: Pelucchi (ITA) and Haussler (AUS).

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