But year in, year out, Paris-Nice continues to attract a stellar field of riders as well as provide great, and sometimes telling racing. This was a case in point with Tour de France champions Tadej Pogačar and Jonas Vingegaard lining up for a rare early-season rematch. But then in many ways, Paris-Nice is a mini Tour.
Unlike the stage race Tirreno-Adriatico which cuts across the middle of Italy, Paris-Nice races through much of France, starting near Paris and finishing on the mythic French Côte d'Azur in Nice. Each stage is distinctly different, each with a unique landscape, different weather and types of racing.
They call Paris-Nice the Race to the Sun, and this year lived up to its reputation as the race left the winter-like weather in the north behind and basked in the sun on the final weekend around the back hills of Nice.
Despite the constantly changing weather and terrain, Slovenian superstar Pogačar was a constant, frequently attacking and racing away from his opponents to win three stages and the yellow jersey. It was a commanding performance, and as he raced across the line in Nice, winning his third stage, Pogačar actually bowed, honoring not only the fans, but this historic race.
The peloton races past an old telegraph and post office in a small village on their way to Fontainebleau during stage two.
Already in the opening stages, Pogačar was constantly on the attack, attempting to translate the slightest hill or crosswind into an advantage.
Bunch sprints marked the opening stages, with Mads Pedersen grabbing stage two in a mad dash to the line.
The EF Education-EasyPost team rode a masterful team time trial, finishing just one second behind the Jumbo-Visma squad, and catapulting Danish rider Magnus Cort into the yellow jersey.
With the help of his UAE Team Emirates team, Pogačar managed to finish just 12 seconds out of the lead.
The breakaway races through a small village midway through stage four.
Meanwhile Pogačar could once again be seen driving the peloton behind.
Going on the attack in the final kilometers, Pogačar soloed to his first stage win on the summit of La Loge des Gardes.
The peloton cruises past the town church in Saint-Maurice-sur-Dargoire in the opening kilometers of stage five.
This local resident takes a break as Paris-Nice rolls by his garage on stage five.
The peloton crosses the Rhone River in La Voulte-sur-Rhône as they make their way towards Saint-Paul-Trois-Châteaux.
With stage six cancelled due to overpowering mistral winds, the peloton was only too happy to find the sun in Nice. As they rolled out at the start of stage seven, they passed by the iconic Negresco Hotel, the crowning jewel of the Promenade des Anglais.
Wearing the yellow jersey, Pogačar was constantly near the front as the race looped around the hills of Côte d’Azur.
Pogačar races down one of the many technical descents on the rugged hills found on this corner of the Mediterranean Coast.
The peloton makes its way up the Côte de Levens on the final stage of this year’s Paris-Nice.
Attacking one last time, Pogačar powers towards his third stage win on the Col d’Eze outside of Nice.
Pogačar takes a bow after his command performance in this year’s Paris-Nice, one that included a stunning hat trick of stage wins.