One for the big boys

October 3 rd 2019 - 16:09

The 113th edition of Paris–Tours, scheduled to start in Chartres on Sunday 13 October, exerts a magnetic pull on both classics specialists and the hardiest fast men, who will all have a shot at winning the race at the end of the 217 km course designed for 2019. Pretenders such as Niki Terpstra, Oliver Naesen and Nils Politt can take the fight to defending champion Søren Kragh Andersen on his own terrain, while sprinters such as Mark Cavendish, Arnaud Démare, Christophe Laporte and Bryan Coquard will be banking let their raw speed do the talking… as long as they can hang on until the home straight.

Paris-Tours 2018 - 07/10/2018 - Chartres / Tours (214,5km) -
Paris-Tours 2018 - 07/10/2018 - Chartres / Tours (214,5km) - © ASO/Gautier DEMOUVEAUX
Paris-Tours 2018 - 07/10/2018 - Chartres / Tours (214,5km) -
Paris-Tours 2018 - 07/10/2018 - Chartres / Tours (214,5km) - © ASO/Gautier DEMOUVEAUX
Paris-Tours 2018 - 07/10/2018 - Chartres / Tours (214,5km) -
Paris-Tours 2018 - 07/10/2018 - Chartres / Tours (214,5km) - © ASO/Gautier DEMOUVEAUX

A plethora of different scenarios can unfold in Paris–Tours. The vineyard tracks introduced to the course will be a bit shorter this year (10.7 km versus 12.5 km in 2018), but they will still cause a somewhat… tannic selection in the peloton. While the odds of a bunch sprint on Avenue de Grammont are long, a small sprint featuring a handful of super-tough riders seems just as likely as a solo adventurer taking the win like Søren Kragh Andersen did last year, when he bagged the first edition of the race in its new format. The young Dane will be defending his title wearing race number 1 on his back, with German sprinter Max Walscheid as Sunweb's plan B. Last year's runner-up, Niki Terpstra, will be seeking to go one better with the support of his Total Direct Énergie teammate Anthony Turgis, the recent winner of Paris–Chauny. Other teams have also made plans for both scenarios. Groupama–FDJ will be fielding Arnaud Démare (runner-up in 2016) as well as the bronze medallist in the Yorkshire World Championships, Stefan Küng, while Lotto–Soudal will be banking on 2014 winner Jelle Wallays and Adam Blythe, and Cofidis is pinning its hopes on Christophe Laporte and Julien Simon. Other contenders could emerge victorious depending on how the race unfolds, with Bryan Coquard returning to the event after finishing in fifth place in the 2016 edition, 2012 winner Marco Marcato, Paris–Roubaix runner-up Nils Politt and Belgian Oliver Naesen, who just like his teammate Tony Gallopin showed great form in the Worlds.
22 teams, main contenders (as of 4 October)
South Africa
Team Dimension Data: Cavendish (GBR), Bak (DEN) and Janse Van Rensburg (RSA)
Team Sunweb: Kragh Andersen (DEN) and Walscheid (GER)
Lotto–Soudal: Wallays, Keukeleire (BEL) and Blythe (GBR)
Wanty–Gobert Cycling Team: Vanspeybrouck (BEL) and Dupont (FRA)
Sport Vlaanderen–Baloise: Warlop and Capiot (BEL)
Wallonie Bruxelles: Planckaert and Ista (BEL)
Riwal–Readynez Cycling Team: Eriksson (SWE) and Quaade (DEN)
United Arab Emirates
UAE Team Emirates: Marcato (ITA) and Bystrøm (NOR)
Euskadi Basque Country–Murias: Iturria and Barceló (ESP)
United States
Rally UHC Cycling: Carpenter and Joyce (USA)
Ag2r–La Mondiale: Gallopin (FRA), Naesen (BEL) and Dillier (SUI)
Groupama–FDJ: Küng (SUI), Démare, Sarreau (FRA) and Guarnieri (ITA)
Cofidis, Solutions Crédits: Laporte and Simon (FRA)
Total Direct Énergie: Terpstra (NED), Gaudin and Turgis (FRA)
Team Arkéa–Samsic: B. Feillu (FRA)
Vital Concept Cycling Club: Coquard (FRA) and Boeckmans (BEL)
Delko–Marseille Provence: Navardauskas and Šiškevičius (LTU)
St. Michel–Auber93: R. Feillu (FRA) and Jakin (EST)
Natura4Ever–Roubaix–Lille Métropole: Antomarchi (FRA) and Vermeulen (BEL)
Israel Cycling Academy: Van Asbroeck (BEL) and Dunne (IRL)
Roompot–Charles: Van Poppel, Asselman and Lammertink (NED)
Gazprom–RusVelo: Porsev (RUS)
Team Katusha–Alpecin: Politt (GER) and Dowsett (GBR)

© G.Demouveaux

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