Once again it’s March and the peloton has already been to various far flung corners of the world for some great racing. Australia, Oman and Qatar have all seen some great contests in the heat while others have braved the cold and rain of the northern hemisphere to get their season under way. All eyes have been focusing on the ‘race to the sun’ as the real test of who’s who in 2010 and this is where the teams will want to put their marker down for the season ahead.
From the 7th to the 14th of March, the pro peloton will be taking on 8 stages through some of France’s greatest countryside competing in the famous Paris – Nice race. Each year, this eagerly anticipated race always creates a stir and last year didn’t disappoint. Alberto Contador looked in great form and everyone thought the winner’s jersey was his until he famously bonked in the leaders jersey and handed top honours over to Luis Leon Sanchez of the Cassie d’Epargne team. If this year’s race is half as exciting as last years, then we are in for a real treat!
The route’s a good one this year too. There’s plenty there for the sprinters and many a chance for a break away, whilst the organisers have thrown in a few hill stages for good measure, including a 3km climb of 10% at the end of stage five taking them in to the town of Mende. The last day sees the peloton start and finish in Nice with plenty for the sprinters to go at and with the expected crowds in attendance, it makes for an awesome days racing both in and out of the saddle.
Keep an eye out for the team battles between RadioShack, Astana and Team SKY and the individual power struggles between the likes of Valverde, Leipheimer and Greipel. Throw in a sprinkling of Schleck brothers and a touch of Contador and you’ve got the makings of a real classic.
If you think we have missed anyone use the comments box below to make suggestions.