Images: Yuzuru Sunada
This week we revisit Paris-Tours, the last major classic on the French road calendar, held on October 7. The race seems to have lost a bit of its luster in recent years due to calendar changes, World Tour competition, and shifting priorities within the organization of its promoter, ASO. No matter, the race remains viable and exciting, defying expectations of a sprint finish more often than not despite the relatively flat terrain.
France's answer to the Giro di Lombardia, Paris-Tours serves up the melancholy of the season's end, where tired legs race against the falling leaves in France's Loire Valley. Past famous châteaux, winding through small towns, and tackling a series of small but painful rises in the closing kilometers, the race finishes on the famed Avenue de Grammont. The seemingly interminable 3km finishing straight has been curtailed due to the construction of a new tram line, but the finish nonetheless showcases the city's leafy boulevard in the consistently dramatic finale.
This year, Italian Marco Marcato outwitted and outsprinted two breakaway companions, Laurens De Vreese and Niki Terpstra in a desparate charge to hold off the main field.