• Australian Richie Porte will be hoping to add a third Paris-Nice title to his palmares. (Getty)Source: Getty
The European stage race season effectively begins with the 5-12 March Paris-Nice, live right here on SBS.
Source:
ASO
2 Mar 2017 - 11:53 AM  UPDATED 5 Mar 2017 - 9:05 PM

The race will feature 22 teams and some of the big Grand Tour riders who will targetting July's Tour de France, including Australia's Richie Porte (BMC), a winner in 2013, 2015 and third place finisher in 2016.

The races held in Australia, the Middle East and Spain have given indications on the current performance levels of both tour specialists and sprinters but Paris-Nice will mark a step up in intensity for many.

Defending champion Geraint Thomas (Sky) appears to be otherwise occupied but Joining Porte will be his replacement Wout Poels, Alberto Contador (Trek-Segafredo), Alejandro Valverde (Movistar), Romain Bardet (AG2R), Ilnur Zakarin (Katusha), Julian Alaphilippe (Quick-Step Floors) and Simon Yates (Orica-Scott).

Among the major tour riders, the major confrontation will most likely be between two-time winners Contador and Porte, but it's also likely that youngsters like Alaphilippe and Yates will break any hold the duo may have on the race.

"I'm really motivated to do well at Paris-Nice. It's my home race in Europe and I've won twice before, so a third win would give me a lot of confidence for the next part of the season," Porte said. 

"I haven't raced since Australia in January but I've had a solid block of training in Tasmania and Monaco, so I'm looking forward to racing again."

Supporting Porte will be Alessandro De Marchi (ITA), Amaël Moinard (FRA), Nicolas Roche (IRL), Michael Schär (SUI), Dylan Teuns (BEL), Francisco Ventoso (ESP) and Danilo Wyss (SUI).

The sprinting stocks at the "Race to the Sun" are also full with French riders leading the way. Arnaud Démare (FDJ), Nacer Bouhanni (Cofidis) and Bryan Coquard (Direct Energie) will battle with the likes of Australian Michael Matthews (Sunweb), Marcel Kittel (Quick-Step Floors, John Degenkolb (Trek-Segafredo), Andre Greipel (Lotto-Fix All) and Alexander Kristoff (Katusha). 

The field then goes even deeper with Tony Martin (Katusha), Simon Gerrans (Orica-Scott), Philippe Gilbert and Daniel Martin (Quick-Step Floors), Lars Boom (Lotto NL-Jumbo), Jakob Fuglsang (Astana), Sylvain Chavanel (Direct Energie) and Pierre Rolland (Cannondale Drapac) also in the mix.

Paris-Nice broadcast times:

Monday 6 March
2017 Paris-Nice: Stage 1
0130 – 0315 AEDT (Live to East) SBS and streaming online.

Tuesday 7 March
2017 Paris-Nice: Stage 2
0120 – 0300 AEDT (Live to East) SBS and streaming online.

Wednesday 8 March
2017 Paris-Nice: Stage 3
0120 – 0300 AEDT (Live to East) SBS and streaming online.

Thursday 9 March
2017 Paris-Nice: Stage 4
0120 – 0300 AEDT (Live to East) SBS and streaming online.

Friday 10 March
2017 Paris-Nice: Stage 5
0120 – 0300 AEDT (Live to East) SBS and streaming online.

Saturday 11 March
2017 Paris-Nice: Stage 6
0120 – 0300 AEDT (Live to East) SBS and streaming online.

Sunday 12 March
2017 Paris-Nice: Stage 7
0215 – 0350 AEDT (Live to East) SBS and streaming online.

Monday 13 March
2017 Paris-Nice: Stage 8
0130 – 0315 AEDT (Live to East) SBS and streaming online.