Paris-Nice kicked off on Sunday with the peloton taking on a 166km route from Saint-Cyr-l’École to Saint-Germain-en-Laye, with plenty of undulating terrain to test the riders. As expected, it was a highly competitive race, with several attacks and counter-attacks from some of the world’s top riders.
One of the standout performers on the day was UAE Team Emirates rider Tadej Pogacar, who launched a blistering attack on the final climb of the day. The 22-year-old Slovenian, who won last year’s Tour de France, showed his class by pulling away from the rest of the field and taking the stage victory with ease.
Pogacar’s attack came with just over 2km to go, as he accelerated away from his rivals on the steep climb up to the finish. The young rider looked incredibly strong and determined, with his rivals unable to match his pace.
Speaking after the race, Pogacar said: “It was a hard stage, with a lot of wind and a lot of attacks. But my team did a great job of keeping me in a good position and I felt good on the final climb. I knew it was my chance to attack, and I’m happy it worked out.”
Pogacar’s victory was not only impressive, but it also puts him in a great position heading into the rest of the race. With several more challenging stages to come, including a summit finish on stage 4, the young Slovenian will be hoping to build on his strong start and take home the overall victory.
Of course, Pogacar is not the only rider in the race with ambitions of winning. He will face stiff competition from the likes of Geraint Thomas, Primoz Roglic, and Maximilian Schachmann, among others. But based on his performance on stage 1, Pogacar looks to be in fantastic form and will be tough to beat.
As for the rest of the UAE Team Emirates squad, they also put in a strong performance on the day, with both David de la Cruz and Rui Costa finishing in the top 10. The team will be hoping to continue their strong showing throughout the rest of the race and support Pogacar as he aims for the overall victory.
It’s worth noting that Paris-Nice is a highly prestigious race, with a long and storied history. Known as the “Race to the Sun”, it is one of the earliest stage races of the season, and attracts many of the world’s top riders. The race has been won by some of the sport’s biggest names, including Eddy Merckx, Sean Kelly, Laurent Fignon, and Bradley Wiggins.
This year’s race is set to be just as competitive, with a strong field of riders and several challenging stages. The race will cover a total distance of 1,228km, over the course of eight stages. Along the way, the riders will face a variety of terrains, including flat sprints, hilly stages, and mountain-top finishes.
The race will also provide an opportunity for many riders to prepare for the upcoming classics season, including Milan-San Remo and the Tour of Flanders. With so much at stake, and so many top riders in the field, Paris-Nice is sure to be an exciting and closely contested race.
For now, though, all eyes will be on Tadej Pogacar, who has already shown that he is in fantastic form. If he can continue to ride like he did on stage 1, he will be a strong favourite to take home the overall victory. But with so much racing still to come, anything can happen, and the battle for the yellow jersey is far from over.
Pogacar’s early attack on stage 1 of Paris-Nice was reminiscent of his performance at last year’s Tour de France, where he famously won three stages and the overall yellow jersey. It’s clear that the young Slovenian has developed into one of the sport’s top riders, and he will be looking to build on that success in 2021.
But he will face tough competition from the likes of Geraint Thomas, the 2018 Tour de France winner, and Primoz Roglic, who was leading last year’s Tour de France before crashing out. Thomas and Roglic both finished in the top 10 on stage 1 of Paris-Nice, and will be looking to challenge Pogacar throughout the rest of the race.
Other riders to watch include Maximilian Schachmann, the defending champion of Paris-Nice, and Michael Matthews, who won the opening stage of the race in 2019. With so many top riders in the field, it’s anyone’s guess who will come out on top.
One thing is for sure, though: Paris-Nice is always a fiercely competitive race, and this year’s edition is no exception. With challenging terrain and some of the sport’s top riders battling it out, it promises to be a thrilling week of racing.
As for Tadej Pogacar, he will be hoping to continue his winning ways and take home the overall victory. If he can maintain the form he showed on stage 1, there’s every chance he will do just that. But with so much racing still to come, and so many top riders in the field, anything can happen. All we can do is sit back and enjoy the spectacle.