Are you ready for Paris-Nice race?

One of cycling's most popular early season races gets under way this weekend

Cycling fans are in for a treat over the next eight days as the 76th Paris-Nice - aka the Race to the Sun - gets under way this weekend.

Defending champion Sergio Henao will lead the charge for Team Sky, who have won five of the last six races.

The eight-stage race starts with a 135km stage from Chatou to Meudon. Full details of the stage are available here

Stage two takes the riders on a 187.5km ride from Orsonville to Vierzon

The third stage, on Monday, March 5, is the longest of the race - a 210km pull between Bourges and Châtel-Guyon.

After three long runs, the riders face an 18.4km individual time-trial stage between La Fouillouse and Saint-Etienne, before hitting the long and winding roads again for a 165km race between Salon-de-Provence and Sisteron - as the landscape starts to provide more of a challenge.

Stage six, a 198km stretch between Sisteron and Vence, includes a 6.6km category 2 climb at Col de Luens. 

The seventh and penultimate stage takes riders on a 175km ride in the mountains between Nice and Valdeblore La Colmiane. A day later the riders at the head of the standings can bask in the glory of the processionary day's 110km ride around Nice

To get you in the mood, here are some highlights from last year's race

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