• Florian Vermeersch of Lotto Soudal during the 2021 Paris-Roubaix (Getty Images)Source: Getty Images
Less than a week after a historic edition of Paris-Roubaix moved to the autumn for the first time, the classics season ends this weekend with Paris-Tours and presents itself in this unprecedented calendar as an ideal opportunity for redemption and revenge for the top classics riders.
SBS Cycling Central

7 Oct - 1:54 PM 

Watch Paris-Tours from 12.30am Monday (Sunday night) on SBS On Demand and SBS VICELAND.

After the Flemish cobbles of the World Championships and the slippery cobbles of Paris-Roubaix, it is on the vineyard trails that have been part of the programme of the classic for the past three years that the champions will battle it out on the dirt of the vineyard paths of Paris-Tours.

The 115th edition of Paris-Tours, which starts on Sunday morning in Chartres at 11.40 am, will be contested on a 212.3 km course, including nine vineyard paths in the last 50 km, for a total of 9.5 km.

Among the contenders for the title, former winners like Casper Pedersen, Soren Kragh Andersen, and Greg Van Avermaet will have to contend with one of the heroes of Paris-Roubaix, Florian Vermeersch (2nd), who showed what he is capable of in his first participation in the cobbled classic, just a week after taking a medal at the Under 23 world championships.

Vermeersch excelled in Leuven, finishing on the U23 time-trial podium before he rode another stellar race on the cobbled sectors and then at the Roubaix velodrome, where he came close to becoming the youngest winner of the modern era, finishing second in the sprint to the line behind Sonny Colbrelli (Bahrain-Merida). Hungry for more, the 22-year-old could get his first professional victory before the end of this season.

The highlights from Paris-Roubaix 2021.

To do that, he will have to surprise or dominate some of last Sunday's Paris-Roubaix standouts, which include Christophe Laporte (6th), Tom Van Asbroeck (8th), Anthony Turgis (13th), Sep Vanmarcke (23rd), Jasper Stuyven (25th). Or some big names who didn't do well, like Arnaud Démare and Stefan Küng with Groupama-FDJ and Greg Van Avermaet in the AG2R-Citroën jersey, who is a former Paris-Tours and Paris-Roubaix winner!

Two riders who have been able to exploit the vineyard roads, the defending race winner, Casper Pedersen from Denmark and his compatriot-teammate Soren Kragh Andersen, will also be among the favourites for the win. There are also serious candidates who did not take part in this year's edition of Paris-Roubaix. That is the case for Valentin Madouas, who was in good form in the Classic Loire Atlantique (2nd) after participating in the conquest of Julian Alaphilippe's rainbow jersey and sprinters Pascal Ackermann, Nacer Bouhanni, Danny van Poppel (winner of Binche-Chimay-Binche) and Bryan Coquard.

Watch Paris-Tours from 12.30am Monday (Sunday night) on SBS On Demand and SBS VICELAND.