D-1: Paris-Tours News

October 6 th 2018 - 18:16

The 112th edition of Paris-Tours, with a course enhanced by new difficult sections, could lead to an unusual scenario favouring longer attacks from riders like Philippe Gilbert, Tiesj Benoot or Oliver Naesen, who could outwit the sprinters teams. The fallen leaves classic will also be the final classic of two French riders putting and end to their career, Sylvain Chavanel and Jeremy Roy.


The 2019 Paris-Tours could be a vintage year with the introduction of vineyard paths in the last 50 km, for a total of 12.5 km of gravelly sections on narrow lanes. These sectors could be ideal to launch an attack from afar but race designer Cedric Coutouly rules out comparisons with the cobbled sectors on Paris-Roubaix. “Actually it is the addition of the vineyard lanes and new climbs that make the course a hard one. Except for the first one, every gravelly section comes after a climb or a descent, which makes it difficult for teams to organise a chase. In the same time, those sections are not hard enough for a rider to go full gas and drop everybody else on a single lane. Watch out however for the sectors on the Raye Valley (48 km from the finish) and Peu Morier (22.5 km). If there is a sprint finish, I don’t think there will be more than 40 riders left in the peloton.” Another possible option is to see an echelon take place in the plains of the Beauce early in the race, especially as guts of winds are forecast on race day.

The modifications to the Paris-Tours course led team AG2R-La Mondiale to form a team around Oliver Naesen, who will tackle his last race of the season with the same ambition as in the Spring classics. The Belgian rider, who the Bretagne Classic in Pluay in August, snatched a couple of podium places since, like his 3rd place in Binche-Chimay-Binche, and will be supported by team-mates like Silvan Dillier, Stijn Vandenbergh or Alexis Gougeard. “I’ve seen videos of the vineyard paths but I didn’t check them. Obviously you’ll need to be positioned well to tackle those sectors. It’s not as hard as the cobbles, but luck can be a factor. It could be a great show but it could also bring frustration. I always feel good in the late season but I often feel good without winning. It’s always more open when Sagan and Van Avermaet are not around. In any case, we have a strong team with our classics squad.”

He took part in his last Paris-Tours in 2000, finishing 85th. Eighteen years later, Sylvain Chavanel will ride his last classic between Chartres and Tours before putting an end to his career in the Chrono des Nations time trial new week. After holding the yellow jersey and winning two stages on the Tour de France (2008 and 2010), collecting six French time trial champion titles and clinching three Paris-Nice stages (2008, 2009 and 2013), Sylvain Chavanel calls it quits at 39. As for Jeremy Roy, he is taking part in his 5th and final Paris-Tours at the age of 35 and will bid farewell in front of his home-crowd after 16 years with the FDJ team. “I rode the Tour de Vendee today with Paris-Tours in my mind. I’m glad to ride my last race on home terrain, on my training roads and on a new format. We have good riders in the team. I will probably be asked to work quickly so my main goal is to finish.”

Shortly before the main race, the new vineyard sectors of Paris-Tours will be tackled by the under-23 riders, who will start from Bonneval for a 182-km race along the same course. Among the 155 riders from 31 teams at the start, the recent world champion from Innsbruck should be the centre of attention. A member of Team Sunweb’s reserve team, Switzerland’s Marc Hitschi, who also won the European championship in Glasgow, is an obvious favourite, along with Belgium’s Gerben Thijssen, third a year ago, and France’s Nicolas Primas, 3rd in 2016 and still allowed to ride in the category.

Along the same lines as on the Tour de France for the past two years, a space dedicated to the promotion of cycling and bicycle riding on a daily basis will be open to all in the finish area in Tours. Children will be given advice on the handling of their bikes and take part in training sessions on safety and the maintenance of their equipment.

Follow us

Receive exclusive news about Paris-Tours