An event every rider with a penchant for the classics would like to add to their palmares, Paris-Tours is an intriguing spectacle as the season draws to a close.
With the Tour of Lombardy shifting forward in the calendar the 235.5km epic assumes the mantle of the final prestigious one-day classic of the year.
Commonly known as the ‘sprinters’ classic’, the race is one of the oldest in the sport and has been run 105 times since its first edition in 1896.
The race is set to bring to the curtain down on the career of Team Sky’s Jeremy Hunt, the experienced Brit retiring at the end of the 2012 season.
As with a number of events bearing its name the race does not actually begin in Paris – the 2012 edition instead kicking off in Chateauneuf-en-Thymerais, to the south-east of Chartres.
The lengthy parcours plummets south and is a late-season race of attrition despite the lack of significant climbs along the way.
Once again the ascent of the Cloyes-sur-le-Loir is the most significant climbing test of the day, yet tackled before half distance the ascent is unlikely to have any impact, with attackers instead looking to keep their powder dry until three brief climbs towards the finale. The Cote de Crochu, Cote de Beau Soliel and Cote de l’Epan all arrive within the last 30km but are not always severe enough to derail the sprinters.
That is unlikely to stop the attacks coming thick and fast as strong riders aim to force a selection as the race loops back on itself for the run into Tours.
A long, straight drag in the final kilometres, including an extended finishing straight, could make life difficult but as history has shown the race is a much tougher event to win than it appears on paper.
Team Sky history
A brave ride from Ian Stannard in 2011 saw the Brit net fourth in a tense finale into Tours. Team Sky's Race Coach Kurt-Asle Arvesen, who also called time on his racing career at the event last season, took second in 2006.