Porte and Contador poised to do battle cycling
In the absence of Alejandro Valverde, Wout Poels and Geraint Thomas, the Paris-Nice race looks set for a head-to-head between Richie Porte and Alberto Contador.
Porte blasted out of the blocks to win the first WorldTour race of the season at the Tour Down Under in January and although he hasn't raced in Europe this year, the Tasmanian is keen to pick up his third win in a race that finishes down the road from his European home in Monaco.
Alongside Porte in the BMC squad will be Nicolas Roche, who will reveal the inside story of the eight-day race in his daily diary from Monday, while three more Irish riders, Dan Martin, Philip Deignan and Sam Bennett will also line up for the 'Race to the Sun'.
Deignan will likely be asked to ride in a domestique role for Sergio Heano at Team Sky but both Bennett and Martin will be looking to chalk up a second victory to their 2017 accounts.
While Bennett will be gearing towards the opening three days' flatter sprint finish stages, Martin will be looking to get to the mountains at the end of the week within touching distance of Porte and Contador.
Paris-Nice begins tomorrow with a 150km criterium in Bois d'Arcy, on the outskirts of Paris.