Tom-Jelte Slagter wins stage 4 Paris-Nice.

Tom-Jelte Slagter wins stage 4 Paris-Nice.

Paris-Nice is the first UCI World Tour race of the year, the point where the season gets serious. Lionel Birnie has hit the road to follow the event known as the Race to the Sun and brings this special podcast at the halfway point.

Packed with interviews, it recaps the first half of the journey, which has taken the riders from Mantes La Jolie to Belleville.

Belleville

And there’s a very welcome return to the podcast for our inimitable Italian correspondent Ciro Scognamiglio of Gazzetta dello Sport, who is a capable stand-in for regulars Richard and Daniel.

You join us in Belleville just as Garmin-Sharp’s Tom Jelte Slagter has won the stage and Team Sky’s Geraint Thomas has taken the yellow jersey.

In this episode, we hear from Thomas about his counter-attack near the end of the stage that netted him the yellow jersey.

Team Sky’s boss Dave Brailsford talks about the decision to move Richie Porte from Paris-Nice to Tirreno-Adriatico to replace the injured Chris Froome, which in turn elevated Thomas to team leadership in France. He also discusses the problem for teams of two World Tour races overlapping at such an early point in the season.

In other exclusive interviews, we hear from Orica-Green Edge’s Simon Yates about his first World Tour race, from Omega Pharma sports director Wilfried Peeters about Gianni Meersman’s time penalty for drafting during stage two and from BMC Racing’s Steve Cummings about his recent Tour of the Mediterranean victory.

But it’s Ciro who is the star of the show. Gazzetta’s correspondent has been assigned to follow Vincenzo Nibali all the way to the Tour de France. Ciro updates on Nibali’s form and explains that his presence at Paris-Nice is more political than practical.

For more cycling editorial go to HumansInvent.com/Cycling.

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