We recently celebrated our first anniversary of setting up shop in the beautiful old town of Nice, coinciding with many of the world’s most exciting riders duking it out from Paris to the iconic Promenade de Anglais in the Race to the Sun. In the days before the peloton’s arrival, we took the chance to explore some of the most beautiful rides on the doorstep of three local residents past and present, each with their own unique talents on the bike and personal connection to the spectacular landscapes erupting from the Côte d'Azur coastline.
“I was born in Ireland but my parents moved to France when I was two years old. In 2009, watching my big brother finish second in one of the stages of the Tour de France, I thought “ah I want to do cycling”. And this is how it started.
You can almost forget when riding here every day, but once you get to ride with tourists and people that are not from here, you realise again, I’m actually lucky. Once you get to know the good roads, it's amazing. You can be at 2000m altitude and you still have the sea views. You have the horizon with the sea and then you turn left and you have snowy mountains, it’s crazy. It’s just special.”
Abby Mae Parkinson
“Being a professional cyclist obviously you do have to go out on your bike. It’s not just the performance side of it but I do think mentally riding a bike is therapeutic at times. I think anywhere with a great view is where I love to ride because it’s so different to where I was brought up.
It’s definitely helped me living here, the versatility of the area. There’s so many different routes you can go on that are completely different. You can go straight from Nice into the mountains, you can do the last two climbs of Milan-San Remo. I think it’s really unique that there are so many iconic places to ride that you can easily do from Nice.”
“The reason that I left Australia to come and race in Europe was because that’s where the epicentre of the sport was. I didn't really know what I was getting myself into when I packed my suitcase and left as a 19 year old. But I knew that’s where I needed to be to take my racing and career to the next level. It was just a huge adventure.
My first experience in the South of France was in 2004 and I was just blown away by not only how beautiful it is but the variety you have in your training as well. From nice flat roads along the coastline to heading up into the foothills of the Alps, it’s all on your doorstep.
My relationship with cycling has changed so much from when I first discovered the sport to why I do the sport now. It’s so great to get back to this area and ride over the roads that I trained on for so many years when I first turned professional. The reasons I ride these days are totally different, these days I ride for the social element of the sport, it’s a really cool way to connect and meet new people.”
Nice Pro Tours
With its sunshine shorelines, golden-age glamour and pro racing pedigree, the seaside city of Nice in France has long attracted cyclists to its roads. Those winding cols, famous for racing high jinks at the Tour de France and Paris-Nice, reveal beautiful landscapes from sea to summit. Braus. Madone. Turini. Èze. These are bucket list road passes. But there’s so much more to enjoy – the Mediterranean lifestyle and warm weather help make Nice a dream cycling destination.
The city’s infrastructure makes a trip here feel effortless: an airport that’s close to the centre, mountains that shoot up straight from the sea, and a thriving cultural and gastronomic scene throughout town. It’s partly why so many pro riders have made the city their home. Ride the climbs with us here and you’re sure to spot a WorldTour talent or two out training.
The Service Course Nice
1 Rue de l’Ancien Sénat, 06300, Nice, France