Paris-Nice: Stage 8

Two crashes & dislocated shoulder sees Primoz Roglic lose his stranglehold on the Paris-Nice GC battle as Maximilian Schachmann benefits with a second overall victory and Dane Magnus Cort Nielsen grabs the stage victory

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Paris-Nice: Stage 8

Two crashes & dislocated shoulder sees Primoz Roglic lose his stranglehold on the Paris-Nice GC battle as Maximilian Schachmann benefits with a second overall victory and Dane Magnus Cort Nielsen grabs the stage victory

Germany’s Maximilian Schachmann retained his Paris-Nice crown after one of the most sensational finales of the Race to the Sun, which saw runaway race leader Primoz Roglic crash (twice), falter and finally lose a crown which seemed almost certain to be his before the stage. The Slovenian hit the tarmac after 22 km, was halted again with 25 km to go and never managed to return to the peloton speeding to get rid of him once and for all. It is reported Roglic dislocated a shoulder in one of the crashes.

Roglic, winner of three stages in this edition, crossed the line 3:08 behind Schachmann and finished 15th overall with the slim consolation of a Green jersey. The final GC saw the German leads white jersey winner Aleksandr Vlasov (Astana) by 19 seconds and his Astana team-mate Ion Izagirre by 23 seconds.

On the finish line in Levens, Dane Magnus Cort Nielsen (EF Education-Nippo) outsprinted Frenchman Christian Laporte (Cofidis) for his second stage win in Paris-Nice.

The start was given to the 136 riders in the afternoon without sprinter Giacomo Nizzolo (Qhubeka) who did not start. Several attempts to go clear took place early on. Julien Bernard (Trek-Segafredo) being the most active as the peloton was tackling the first ascent of the Cote de Duranus. Dylan Van Baarle (Ineos-Grenadiers) was first at the top ahead of Dylan Teuns (Bahrain), Sergio Henao (Qhubeka-Assos) and Quentin Pacher (B&B Hotels). The four were joined by Dorian Godon (Ag2R-Citroen) and Louis Meintjes (Intermarché) on the descent. But the six were caught by the bunch shortly before the first bonus sprint of the day, won by Aurélien Paret-Peintre (Ag2R-Citroen).

Several crashes took place in a nervous peloton, starting with David Gaudu (Groupama-FDJ), who was forced out of the race, and race leader Primoz Roglic hit the tarmac at kilometre 22 and was brought back into the peloton, who had relaxed after the incident. The Slovenian was back in the peloton, with his shorts torn apart and bruises on his legs. On the flat (km 32), Tim De Clercq (Deceuninck-Quick Step), Jonas Rutsch (EF-Nippo), Edward Theuns (Trek-Segafredo) and Sven Bystrom (UAE) parted from the peloton.

They were chased by stage 2 winner Cees Bol (DSM), Stefano Oldani (Lotto), Warren Barguil (Arkea-Samsic) and Johan Jacobs (Movistar), who was finally dropped. At km 45, the Barguil trio joined the leading four and seven men tackled the second ascent in the front. Laurens De plus (Ineos Grenadiers) later joined the breakaway group before the second ascent of Cote de Duranus, led by Barguil, ahead of Theuns and Bystrom.

The gap increased on that second climb as the peloton seemed intent on avoiding further crashes, with the exception of 2009 Paris-Nice winner Luis Leon Sanchez, who repeatedly attempted to chase the break. The Spanish champion (Astana) finally went clear of the pelotonwith Krists Neilands (Israel Start-Up nation), followed by Michael Matthews (Bike Exchange), Omar Fraile (Astana), Matteo Trentin (UAE), Julien Bernard (Trek-Segafredo), Damien Touzé (Ag2R-Citroen), Dylan Theuns (Bahrain) and later Simon Geschke (Cofidis).

With 25 km to go, Roglic suffered a mechanical and found himself dropped by the peloton. Schachmann’s Bora-Hansgrohe and Astana led the pack at full speed to drop the yellow jersey holder while George Bennett and Steven Kruijswijk tried vainly to bring him back. The Slovenian gradually lost ground as the final victory was eluding him with each kilometre. At the front, Barguil, Bernard, Bystrom and Rutsch went but were quickly reined in by the speeding peloton, in which Schachmann was getting closer to a second win in the Race to the Sun. With 15 kilometres to go, Roglic had lost his 52-seconds lead over the German. At the finish – and after nearly crashing again with 5 km to go when Tim Declerq overcooked a corner, Roglic lost more than three minutes.

In the last 3 km, Gino Mader (Bahrain), who had narrowly lost to Roglic in La Colmiane, tried his luck again with Guillaume Martin (Cofidis) and Krists Neilands (Israel Start-Up Nation) but the bunch regrouped. In the final sprint, Magnus Cort Nielsen was the most cunning and he attacked before the last corner to upstage Frenchman Christophe Laporte (Cofidis) on the line. It was the Dane’s second stage win on the Race to the Sun after the one earned in 2019. France’s Anthony Perez (Cofidis) retained his polka-dot jersey.

Max Schachmann: It was a crazy day. I have mixed feelings because Roglic crashed, he also crashed twice. I don’t know if it was his mistake. But I had a puncture before the first climb and I had to go deep to get back and nobody waited for me. Then Roglic crashed and we waited and suddenly he crashed again and there was a break ahead and we were going for the victory of the day. I don’t know if I can be happy, it’s not nice to win like that. It’s very difficult. Anyway it’s great. It was a goal to do it again and suddenly I’m on the podium again even if it’s a different scenario from last year. I don’t know what to say. I was improving. I came here from a training camp and I was feeling tired and I got better despite a cold. The team did a great job, I’m very proud of them. We’re going to enjoy it now.” On the descents, “I don’t know what they did but it was really dangerous. It was very slippery. I was going really slowly to avoid crashing. I even lost a few metres but decided it was smarter to go a bit conservative downhill instead of crashing.”

Primož Roglič lost an almost certain victory in Paris-Nice on Sunday. Two crashes threw a spanner in the works for the leader of Jumbo-Visma: “This was not the ride we hoped for. I made some mistakes today ”, he said afterwards. “In the first fall, my left shoulder was dislocated and then I fell again”, Roglič told Het Nieuwsblad. “I gave everything, but I couldn’t get into the first group anymore. It’s a shame, but on to the next one. This is also part of the sport. We will definitely be back in the next races.”

“I didn’t really think about the overall victory slipping out of my hands. It is always a fight with yourself. If you can, you do what you have to do”, the Slovenian responds. “I gave everything. We are of course disappointed, but the world will not stop spinning. We must now look ahead. It could have been a lot worse. Fortunately, I will be okay in a few days.”

Steven Kruijswijk: teammate to Roglic, who explained the Slovenian race leader had a mechanical after his second crash. “He couldn’t get his chain on, so he fell behind. And they immediately continued at the front, ”says Kruijswijk. “There was a lot of wind in the valley after that. There were three or four riders to help him, but we couldn’t close that gap with the peloton. We tried to do that as quickly as possible, but were unsuccessful. His second crash came out of nowhere. Otherwise we could have kept the jersey”.

Magnus Cort: It was perfect to finish like that. I could not be more happy. It was a very tense stage with that lap to do three times over. It was hard to predict, there were lots of breakaways, Roglic crashed twice and then we could do the sprint. It was very hectic in the last few kilometres as there was no train to keep the speed up and keep positions. You had to do it on your own. I had seen the finish coming around two times, I knew it was fast and there was a small corner before the finish. I thought that if I was first at that corner, nobody could come around so I tried to get to that corner first and nobody came around.

Aleksandr Vlasov: “I am really happy with my second place and the white jersey. I am here at Paris – Nice for the first time and it is so nice to debut in this great race with a podium result. The last day was a nervous one, the pace was incredible while the parcours was a tricky one. At one moment, I crashed together with Alexey Lutsenko, but, fortunately I was able to get back on the bike quickly and to continue the race. I am sorry for race leader Primoz Roglic who crashed too, I hope he is ok.

Well, the team did a fantastic job for me and Ion in the finale. We tried to attack, I think I did it three times, and also Ion tried several times. But the last ascent was not steep, but fast, so it was almost impossible to make the difference. However, we tried and I am happy that we didn’t give up. Now I will have a short rest before my next altitude training camp.” added Aleksandr Vlasov

Ion Izagirre (3rd on GC) “The stage was really crazy with high speeds all day long, attacks and crashes on a dangerous route. We had a few crashes in our team and also Roglic crashed too. I am sorry for him to lose the race in this way, but that is a part of cycling. I hope he will recover soon. We tried to follow our strategy and our team did a great race. On the final climb we all were in front, working hard and trying to make a selection in the group and to try to isolate Schachmann. I attacked and also Aleksandr made some attacks but with that fast pace and on a profile like the one we had, it was impossible to distance him as he is really strong in this kind of finale. I am quite happy with my podium place. I mean this is Paris – Nice and it is a great race and a podium here is a big achievement. I am on the right way towards my biggest goals, my shape is good but I still hope to improve some things to be strong in my next races. In this race we rode really well together as a team and it was great to win the team classification!.”

Tiesj Benoot: Fifth overall after second last year “It was very tough, especially because Primoz Roglic fell twice. The first time they clearly waited for him”, Benoot told Het Nieuwsblad. “I was just behind when he fell for the second time, and then BORA-hansgrohe was already in the lead to bring the groups together. I don’t think you can say that they did something wrong, that is also part of the race. If I had fallen, they wouldn’t have waited,” he says. “I was really stuck at the first intermediate sprint. I also really had problems with the airways today, there was a lot of mucus. That is the case with some riders in the team, so maybe it is a small virus. But we have all tested negative for corona.”

Lucas Hamilton (4th on GC): “I am really satisfied, I think it has been a good week. This is my first race as the team’s sole GC leader and the boys really helped me a lot. Today it is obviously very disappointing for Roglic to lose yellow like that but for us to come out with fourth on GC and a couple of good stage results and a day in yellow; we are happy. When you finish fourth it means there’s always room for improvement and of course you look back, but I have a lot of racing ahead, there’s a big season coming up and so I’m looking forward to it.”



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