A plan B is being studied to possibly modify the final of the queen stage of Paris-Nice, the arrival of which is scheduled for Saturday in Auron (Alpes-Maritimes) where snowfall is expected, a- we learned from the organizers on Wednesday.

Regularly disrupted by the weather, the “race to the sun” could be cut from a particularly decisive part this year. The 7th stage on Saturday involves the ascent of the Col de Colmiane, perched at 1,500 m, before arriving at the summit in the Auron ski resort (1,600 m) where negative temperatures and snow are forecast.

“It could be complicated, but we have to wait for more detailed forecasts to know exactly what we should do. We have the advantage of leaving early and the weather is expected to be difficult only at the end of the day,” Thierry Gouvenou, event director for Amaury Sport Organization (ASO), explained to AFP.

A cancellation of the stage is “not an option”, he added, but the organization is already working on a plan B to possibly find another finish, less exposed to bad weather.

“We talked about it on the bus this morning. I heard they were looking for an alternative but it will be complicated to find such a difficult ending. Many runners are afraid of what can happen on Saturday,” declared Dane Mattias Skjelmose, leader of the Lidl-Trek team, at the start of the 4th stage on Wednesday in Chalon-sur-Saône.

“They are forecasting -4 degrees on arrival in Auron with snow. Will we be able to ride a bike? If this is not the case, I hope they will find an alternative for the sake of the race,” added David Gaudu, the leader of the Groupama-FDJ team.

The threat hanging over the queen stage of this 82nd edition makes Wednesday’s stage even more important for the riders in the general classification, with its seven climbs for a first arrival at the summit at Mont Brouilly.

“It’s almost a one shot today because we don’t really know for Saturday. I take this stage as if I were starting from Liège-Bastogne-Liège. Today you will have to be present and not calculate your pedal strokes,” underlined Gaudu.

Scheduled for the end of winter, Paris-Nice is regularly confronted with difficult weather conditions. Last year, the 6th stage, which was to arrive in La Colle-sur-Loup, was canceled due to the wind.

“It’s not the first time this has happened, it’s Paris-Nice!”, summarized Gouvenou.