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October 7 th 2023 - 18:06

The 117th edition of Paris-Tours, which will start on Sunday in Chartres, features a route of 213.9 km, including eight climbs and ten paths in the final 67 kilometers.
It will be a time for big farewells for some figures of the peloton. Among them, two former wearers of the Yellow Jersey, Tony Gallopin and Greg Van Avermaet, who respectively won the race in the U23 category in 2008 and among the pros in 2011.
Double defending champion, Arnaud Démare will attempt to become the first rider to win Paris-Tours three times in a row. The Picard, who has just secured his first two victories in his new Arkéa Samsic colors, will be in the spotlight, as Arnaud De Lie, Kaden Groves, and the European champion Christophe Laporte.

A punchy final  
Covering a distance of 213,9 kilometers, the route of the 117th edition of Paris-Tours has a "similar" route to the last year’s, as announced by the race director Cédric Coutouly. "We should have a waiting race at the beginning with a breakaway forming. Things will start to heat up as we approach the vineyard paths". There will be ten of these paths, totaling ten kilometers in length, with eight climbs scattered here and there to made things more challenging. All these difficulties are concentrated in the final 67 kilometers. "It creates a punchy effect », says Cédric Coutouly. « Since the course change in 2018, there aren’t just three climbs but eight. Sprinters tend to sit back on the saddle on the last climb, Rochecorbon." The temperature is expected to be summery (29°c), but the wind should no have an impact… in theory. "It’s forecasted at 10 km/h from the east", says Cédric Coutouly. "If it increases to 20-25 km/h, things could get lively towards Vendôme. But I don’t think there will be any echelons".  

Démare aims for an unprecedented triple  
As the double defending champion, Arnaud Démare has the opportunity to make history at Paris-Tours by becoming the first rider to win the event three times in a row. The former Groupama-FDJ rider is in good form. Since joining Arkéa Samsic this summer, the Picard rider has just claimed his first two victories in his new team’s color : last sunday at the Tour de Vendée and this thursday at Paris-Bourges, one of the few end-of-season races he never previously won. "Raising my arms last weekend was a huge boost for me. I’m arriving at Paris-Tours feeling a bit more liberated. If I can win it for the third time, it would be truly exceptional. But there is tough opposition", said the 32 years old sprinter.   He won on Avenue de Grammont in two different scenarios, in a sprint with four riders in 2021 and within a small peloton last year. "In 2022, I quickly felt that the breakaways were struggling to get away due to the headwind. It’s a tiring race that requires vigilance. You need to have an offensive mindset to avoid getting tricked."

Groves : "A true classic"

Alongside Arnaud Démare, four former winners will be at the start: Jelle Wallays (2014 and 2019), Matteo Trentin (2015 and 2017), John  Degenkolb (2013) and Greg Van Avermaet (2011). A list that Christophe Laporte (Jumbo-Visma) and one of the strong perfomers in the Vuelta, Kaden Groves, who won three stage wins and the best sprinter jersey, are determined to join. The Australian, recently finished 2nd in the Lotto Famenne Classic and the Tour du Munster, respectively behind Arnaud De Lie and Per Strand Hagens, whom he will meet again this Sunday.  "I’m a little bit frustrated but the legs are good before the end of the season", he said. The Alpecin-Deceuninck sprinter finished 116e last year for his first participation in Paris-Tours. "I had a flat tire", he recalls. "However, I know that positioning is crucial before the climbs and vineyard paths”. Soren Kragh Andersen, the former winner of the race in 2018, won’t be alongside him on sunday after a crash in Paris-Bourges on thursday. "We’ll miss his experience, but we still have a strong team, and I’m very motivated. I really love this race. It feels like a true classic".  

De Lie full of confidence  
He arrives in Eure-et-Loire with a huge form and confidence soaring to its peak following his victories at Grand Prix de Québec, the Circuit Franco-Belge and the Famenne Classic. "I’m indeed relaxed and very confident in my abilities as well as those of my team", smiles the Belgian from the Lotto Dstny team, eager to tackle the vineyard paths. "I enjoy the gravel-type sections. It requires some skill, and I’ve shown in recent days that I handle it quite well", he continues, referring to his balancing act in Bourges, last Thursday. "Paris-Tours is a race that can hold many surprises, but we have a good group to control it. If it explodes on the climbs, I'll be there. And if it comes down to a sprint, I'll be there too... It will be up to the other teams to try to drop me, but they will have a tough time”, concludes the enthusiastic twenty-one-year-old Belgian talent, who points to "Arnaud Démare" as one of the favorites."   

Van Avermaet : "I want to make an impact on the race, one last time "  
Greg Van Avermaet will pin on his final race number this Sunday, in the shadow of the majestic Chartes cathedral. As his teammate Michael Schär at AG2R Citroën and Tony Gallopin (Lidl-Trek), the Olympic champion will close his career on the roads of Paris-Tours. "Without much stress, even though it twill obviously be a very special moment", explain the double Tour de France stage winner, among other achievements. "I’ve been pro for seventheen years, so knowing that it’s the last race is naturally full of emotion. But no nervousness, on the contrary. I’m just happy with what I manager to achieve, and also happy to stop when i want to", continues the 38 years old Belgian, who intends to conclude his cycling career with a strong performance. "I’m motivated, and if my legs respond, i think i can aim for a good result. Winning won’t be easy, but i want to make an impact on the race, one last time".  

First, it’s the turn to the young riders  

About an hour before the professionals, riders under the age of 23 will cross the finish line. Paris-Tours Espoirs is the last major event on the U23 calendar. Many aspire to follow in the footsteps of Norwegian Petr Strand Hagenes, who, since his victory last year, has achieved three wins within the Jumbo-Visma World Tour. Belgians Gil Gelders (Soudal Quick-Step Devo Team), the 2nd-place finisher in Paris-Roubaix Espoirs, and Ramses Debruyne (Lotto Dstny DT), 3rd in the Tour of Lombardy Espoirs, are among the favorites. Alexys Brunel remains the most recent French rider to win in 2019. Amateur French champion Killian Verschuren (VCP Loudéac), Pierre Thierry (Morbihan Fybolia GOA), and Ilan Larmet (Dinan SC) will attempt to change that. Earlier in the day, and throughout the day, the "Kilometer" de Paris-Tours will animate Avenue de Grammont. Eleven teams will compete in a speed tournament featuring four categories (cadettes, cadets, junior ladies, and junior gentlemen).  

All eyes on Paris-Tours 
The race will be covered by more than 190 countries through 25 broadcasters on television and digital platforms. The live broadcast will span two hours, starting at 3:10 PM on Eurosport 2. The race can also be followed on digital platforms and the official race website.

09/10/2022 - Paris-Tours - Course
09/10/2022 - Paris-Tours - Course © A.S.O. / Etienne Coudret
09/04/2023 - Paris-Roubaix - Compiègne / Roubaix (256,6km) - VAN AVERMAET Greg (AG2R CITROEN TEAM)
09/04/2023 - Paris-Roubaix - Compiègne / Roubaix (256,6km) - VAN AVERMAET Greg (AG2R CITROEN TEAM) © A.S.O./Pauline Ballet
09/10/2022 - Paris-Tours -
09/10/2022 - Paris-Tours - © A.S.O. / Etienne Coudret

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