White roads...and a rainbow jersey

September 7 th 2023 - 14:26

The 117th edition of Paris–Tours will roll out of Chartres on 8 October for a 213.9 km no-holds-barred contest on an unchanged course featuring ten vineyard tracks for a total of 10 km on unpaved roads.

Mathieu van der Poel's Alpecin–Deceuninck is among the 23 teams selected to take part in the race. The world champion is looking for a fresh challenge six months after taming the cobblestones of Roubaix.

The course of the U23 Paris–Tours Espoirs is also a carbon copy of last year's, stretching for 178.9 km from Bonneval to the Avenue de Grammont.

09/10/2022 - Paris-Tours - Chemin de vigne de Pocé-sur-Cisse
09/10/2022 - Paris-Tours - Chemin de vigne de Pocé-sur-Cisse © A.S.O. / Etienne Coudret

The Classic of the Falling Leaves has become the Race of the Harvested Grapes since vineyard tracks were thrown into the mix in 2018. A new set of hurdles separates the must from the lees in the final 70 kilometres, starting on the Côte de Limeray, which comes right before the first unpaved sector. A total of eight climbs and ten white roads provide a launch pad for counter-attacks. Local authorities marshal their resources to maintain these 10 kilometres of farm trails and keep them in good conditions to prevent crashes, but without detracting from the challenge that puts the handling skills of the pretenders to the crown to the test. The course of the 117th edition of Paris–Tours is a clone of the 2022 route.  

13 WorldTour teams and, in total, 17 teams in the peloton of the last Tour de France are tackling the challenge in the vineyards of Touraine. Two-time winner Arnaud Démare will be a man to watch in his new Arkéa–Samsic colours, but the man to beat is the most prolific classics specialist of the season. Mathieu van der Poel is returning to competition in Paris–Tours after earning the rainbow stripes in Glasgow, going into the final part of a season in which he also emerged victorious from Milan–San Remo and Paris–Roubaix.

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