Along with Paris-Roubaix and the Tour de Lombardie, Paris-Tours (1.Pro, 10/10) is one of the oldest events in professional cycling and ironically, these three races follow each other on the calendar this season. Intermarché-Wanty-Gobert Matériaux will start this Sunday from Chartres, for a 115th edition which will again feature 9.5 kilometers of gravels throughout the vineyards, introduced on the parcours back in 2018.
Included in the last 50 kilometers, these nine sectors of dirt roads feature along with seven short climbs of less than a kilometer-long, meant to lit up the final after a crossing from Chartres without significant obstacles. The first of the gravel sections, which immediately follows the Côte de Goguenne (0.7 km at 7%), will be encountered after 160 kilometers. Once the last vineyard sector has been completed, ten kilometers remain to be covered before reaching Tours.
The selection led by Hilaire Van der Schueren will include Danny Van Poppel, winner of Binche-Chimay-Binche last Tuesday, who in addition to his prowess in the bunch sprints has stood out many times in the Flanders races. A week after fighting in the Hell of the North, Belgian Baptiste Planckaert(19th on the velodrome in Roubaix) will be at the start on Sunday, he also stood out on the cobbles of the GP de Denain (8th) recently and has regularly shone on French soil this season. His compatriot Aimé De Gendt(6th in 2019) and the Dutchman Taco van der Hoorn (8th in 2018) have already done well through the vineyards, as have Belgian Tom Devriendt(11th in 2017) and Italian Andrea Pasqualon (8th in 2017) when the event used its old formula. Belgian Loïc Vliegen completes the solid selection of seven riders.