Crosswinds. As a rider, you either love them or hate them. Mads Würtz Schmidt loves them.

“I’m crossing my fingers for some crosswinds in the first few days,” said Würtz Schmidt. While the whole peloton may not share Mads’ thoughts, the Danish champion is looking forward to taking on Paris – Nice when it gets underway this Sunday.

“I’m going well after Gran Camiño and it was good to pin numbers on the back again. I am really looking forward to continuing my season at Paris – Nice. It’s a race that suits me well, like Tirreno Adriatico. But I like Paris – Nice, especially the first few stages in the north, with the cold and hopefully, crosswinds.”

Without a clear General Classification rider in the team, IPT will target stage wins at the eight-day race and Würtz Schmidt already has his eye on a couple.

“There are some nice stages and I’ve picked out two that I hope I can go for and see if I can make it in a nice breakaway or do something in the final. But all together, it’s a nice race and I think as a team, we will be looking for opportunities and racing aggressively. We don’t have a GC guy so we have to race for a stage win and I believe we can go home with one in our pockets.”

While the peloton will take on flat terrain in the first three days before a mid-week ITT, the closer to Nice the race goes, the hillier, and hopefully sunnier, it gets.

“Our Israel – Premier Tech riders are all healthy, ready and motivated, and as a team we are looking forward to the race. Paris – Nice is always an important benchmark in the spring where riders can test their early season form. We have engaged a nice balance of skills in our roster and many teams have done the same due to the varied demand of the Paris – Nice stages,” explained Sports Director Steve Bauer.

“Our riders will focus stage by stage and we have guys like Mads Würtz Schmidt, Rudy Barbier, and Carl Fredrik Hagen who can take on the different terrain that Paris – Nice presents. Each day we will assess what our best opportunities will be to challenge for a stage win.”

Bring on the challenge!

Paris-Nice (6-13 March)

Rider roster: Rudy Barbier (FRA), Guillaume Boivin (CAN), Carl Fredrik Hagen (NOR), Hugo Houle (CAN), James Piccoli (CAN), Mads Würtz Schmidt (DEN), Tom Van Asbroeck (BEL).

Sports Directors: Steve Bauer (CAN), Dirk Demol (BEL), Dror Pekatch (ISR)