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Paris-Nice Stage 3 – Live coverage

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Hello and welcome to the Cyclingnews live coverage of stage 3 of Paris-Nice. 

As we join the action, the riders have rolled out of Chalette-sur-Loing towards  La Châtre for 212.5km of racing. It promises to be another day of cross winds, echelons and so aggressive racing. We will have all the action. 

Race radio has confirmed the stage is underway.

133 riders are in the peloton. The same number that finished stage 2 on Monday.

The weather looks set to be cloudy all day, with a risk of rain and cross winds. The wind is blowing from the southwest, meaning it will be a cross/head wind for much of the day. 

German national champion Maximilian Schachmann (Bora-Hansgrohe) is in the race leader's yellow jersey. He strengthened his overall lead yesterday by picking up three seconds in an intermediate sprint. 

He leads stage 2 winner Giacomo Nizzolo (NTT Pro Cycling) by 15 seconds while  Jasper Stuyven (Trek-Segafredo) is third at 21 seconds. 

Today's intermediate sprint is in Chatillon-Coligny at kilometre 20, so could be a perfect chance for Schachmann to try and take more seconds.

We have an attack. Belgium's Tom Devriendt (Circus Wanty Gobert) attacked alone after 4km. He now leads the peloton by 35 seconds but is out front alone.

It is also could in northern France, with temperatures of just 6C. It's going to be a hard day in the saddle.

200km remaining

Tom Devriendt (Circus Wanty Gobert) has extended his lead to 1:50. He faces a lonely but brave ride out front. Allez Tom! Op Op!

Tom Devriendt (Circus-Wanty Gobert) was fist to the intermediate sprint after 20km in Chatillon-Coligny. 

Behind there was a fight for the other bonus seconds, with Giacomo Nizzolo (NTT) taking second place and two time bonus seconds.

Mads Pedersen (Trek-Segafredo) was third and so swept up a one-second bonus.

Nizzolo is wearing the green points jersey today because Schachmann is in the GC leader's jersey. However he is closing in on the German. 

Nizzolo took 2 points at the intermediate sprint and so according to our calculations, he is now eqaul on points with Schachmann. 

The peloton has eased yup after the sprint, allowing Devriendt to open a 6:00 gap. 

Here's the moment Tom Devriendt sured away alone. 

As since the first reports of the outbreak of the coronavirus at the UAE Tour, we are following events closely and bringing you all the news. 

Paris-Nice rolls on today but there are growing concerns about future races. 

Earlier UCI president David Lappartient said that it would be a "disaster" for cycling if the Giro d’Italia and Tour de France cannot take place due to the spread of the Covid-19 coronavirus in Europe.

Click here to read the full story.

The Giro d'Italia is due to start in Hungary on May 9 but is looking increasingly unlikely given the now nationwide restrictions of movement applied across Italy, and June's Tour de France is potentially also at risk as positive cases continue to increase across Europe.

Devi Sridhar, Professor of Global Public Health at the University of Edinburgh, told Cyclingnews that there was no evidence to "suggest that coronavirus transmission will be affected by better weather" and added that "postponing [sporting events] makes the most sense until we know exactly where the virus is and isn't".

Click here to read the full comments by the health expert.

This is the view from the race director's car. 

172km remaining

The peloton has eased even more, allowing Tom Devriendt to push his lead out to 9:30.

Tom Devriendt (Circus Wanty Gobert) covered 37km in the first hour racing. He now leads the peloton by 8:50 after they began a steady chase. His lead peaked at 9:15 after 38km. 

He is now the hare for the peloton to chase south to La Châtre.  

160km remaining

The peloton has reduced the gap to 8:00. 

Here's lone hero Tom Devriendt out front.

Uncertainty remains about future races but riders are continuing to train around the world. 

In Italy cycling is not recommended to avoid the risk of crash and the need to use medical services but professional riders can still train.  

Tom Dumoulin has endured several months of injury and slow recovery but is training at altitude and gave an update on his form. He is on the up. 

"I'm training at [Mount] Teide at the moment," the 2017 Giro champion wrote on Twitter. "Starting to feel better again, and crossing my fingers for the races to continue later this spring with all the corona stress going on in Europe."

Click here to read the full story on Dumoulin.

The Cofidis team has caught the peloton on camera.

After 50km of racing, Tom Devriendt (Circus Wanty Gobert) leads the peloton by 7:30. 

Four Bora-Hansgrohe riders are leading the peloton and setting the pace.

Israel Start-Up Nation has an update from their team car. Seems Nils Politt is a little bored as the peloton rolling along.

It's raining again.... Though I doubt anyone in the peloton is singing the Supertramp song after a third day in the rain at Paris-Nice.

130km remaining

Tom Devriendt (Circus Wanty Gobert) remains out front, leading the peloton now by 7:45. 

The average speed in the second hour of the stage was 33.2km/h for an overall average speed of 35.3km/h.   

The riders are battling into a headwind, making it hard work out on the road.  

Peter Sagan (Bora-Hansgrohe) spoke briefly before the start of the stage. 

The stage 3 finish is slightly uphill and so suits him but he also has to work to defend Maximilian Schachmann race lead.  

“For sure it’s going to be a long stage, a hard stage, with bad weather. I hope to survive. You have to be ready all the time. For now I think my form is OK. You see day by day, and day by day I’m improving,” Sagan said.

Yesterday Sagan's aggressive racing helped split the peloton, as this photo shows. 

(Image credit: Getty Images)

Devriendt crests the Côte de la Chapelotte, the only climb on today's parcours. Lunch is waiting at the feed zone at the bottom of a short descent.

The bunch approaches the top of the third-category climb now and Jonathan Hivert (Total Direct Energie) springs away in search of more mountains classification points. He's already wearing the polka-dot jersey and adds two more points to his tally. 

Jose Manuel Diaz (Nippo Delko Provence), second in the mountains standings, heads off after Hivert to grab the last remaining point. 

The mountains classification now stands:

Hivert - 22 points

Diaz - 7 points

Tiesj Benoot (Sunweb) - 4 points

112km to go

The gap to the lone leader comes down slightly to 6:35

It's all calm out there for the moment, with the wind blowing almost directly in the faces of the riders. There are a couple of points either side of Bourges where the direction turns more directly to the south/south east, and that's where the south-westerly wind will start blowing from the side. Either side of those short sections, however, it's a headwind. That said, the final 20km are due south, which will be more of a cross-headwind. 

(Image credit: ASO)

"If you look around in the peloton, 90 per cent assume that we will not get to Nice"

Jasper Stuyven there, predicting this race will come to an early end. For more from the Belgian on the coronavirus and its impact on Paris-Nice and even the spring classics, click here.

The average speed in the second hour of the stage was 32.2km/h for an overall average speed so far of 34.2km/h. The riders are fighting a headwind of around 25km/h.  

The riders are passing through a forest area and so get some respite from the wind.

Paris-Nice continues southwards despite the restrictions imposed on sports events in France due to the spread of the Covid-19 coronavirus.  However Jasper Stuyven (Trek-Segafredo) maintains that few in the peloton believe the race will make it all the way to the finish in Nice on Sunday.

Click here to read the full story.

85km remaining

The peloton is reeling in Tom Devriendt (Circus Wanty Gobert) as if he's a giant tuna. 

The speed is also up as the risk of echelons rises. 

The speed is definitely up in the peloton, as Bora and Sunweb lead the peloton. A small group has already been distanced. 

Race on!

The riders are wearing rain capes, gloves and leggings to stay warm. They're also careful to eat and drink.   

The peloton will soon hit an open section of road. We could more accelerations.

Oops. A level crossing is closed and so Tom Devriendt has to stop. 

The crossing opens and he is soon away but lost around 20 seconds. His lead is down to 4:20.

In the peloton, riders are trying to take off their rain capes but it is not easy in a packed peloton.

75km remaining

The peloton is back to together after an ease in the pace but how long before another surge or attack?  

Riders are taking of their rain capes because the conditions are improving and the race is also warming-up.

70km remaining

More open roads and the speed is up. Riders are immediately spat out of the back.  

The riders are tucked low over the bars and packed tight in the peloton.

Tom Devriendt's lead is down to 2:45. He is losing time rapidly and can almost be seen by the peloton on the open plains of central France. 

Max Schachmann spoke briefly at the start. 

"After 2 stages I'm feeling the cold and the efforts in my legs," he said.

Today's stage? 

"It's hard to say what will happen. It all depends on the direction of the wind in the finale, it could change. We'll have to ride together and stay safe. We'll see how the situation is to but it's always better to do something than suffer due to attacks by others."

The riders are trying to punch through a block head wind and so are tightly packed together.

LA CHATRE FRANCE MARCH 10 Maximilian Schachmann of Germany and Team Bora Hansgrohe Yellow Leader Jersey Patrick Konrad of Austria and Team Bora Hansgrohe Pascal Ackermann of Germany and Team Bora Hansgrohe Peloton during the 78th Paris Nice 2020 Stage 3 a 2125km stage from ChalettesurLoing to La Chtre ParisNice parisnicecourse PN on March 10 2020 in La Chatre France Photo by Luc ClaessenGetty Images

Here's Schachmann in the leader's yellow jersey and today a yellow rain cape. (Image credit: Getty Images)

Crash! A couple of riders tangle and go down on a right turn. 

Other riders are chasing to get back on after taking a natural break. Romain Bardet has several teammates helping him. 

World Champion Mads Pedersen is at the back but is perhaps getting bidons and food before the final 50km.  

Huge wind turbines confirm the wind is blowing but is still mostly a head wind.

I wonder if Peter Sagan is aware that he took his first pro victory ten years ago. Could he win again today and so take his 114th win?  

55km remaining

Tom Devriendt's lead is melting like the spring snow on the French Alps, as the major team emerge like the first winter flowers, poking their shoots through the soil.   

All it takes is a dip in the road between the fields, the wind blowing in the right direction and the peloton splits and riders fall out the back. 

Each surge also eats into Devriendt's gap. He is now only 1:30 ahead and seems to be suffering. 

Devriendt is in need of a friend. A Devriendt in need is a devreindt indeed.

Crash! 

A Bora riders tangles with NTT riders but all are okay. 

The peloton hits a narrow farm road and so the riders are squeezed together and lined out at the back. 

The peloton turns right and suddenly the wind is a factor. 

Deceuninck is on the front!  

Tom Devriendt (Circus Wanty Gobert) still leads the peloton by 2:00 as he bravely fights on, tilting at the constant wind like a cycling Don Quixote. 

40km remaining

A turn in the road makes a change in the wind direction and the peloton slows again.

LA CHATRE FRANCE MARCH 10 Julian Alaphilippe of France and Team Deceuninck QuickStep Rain Detail view during the 78th Paris Nice 2020 Stage 3 a 2125km stage from ChalettesurLoing to La Chtre ParisNice parisnicecourse PN on March 10 2020 in La Chatre France Photo by Luc ClaessenGetty Images

(Image credit: Getty Images)

At the back of the peloton Patrick Konrad of Bora avoids a spill as he goes off the road but stays up.  

Peter Sagan spoke briefly at the start. He did not seem to bothered about winning ten years after his first success at Paris-Nice. 

"Well it was ten years ago, it's better to be in the moment. We'll see what happens. It's a long, hard stage and there's the weather too. I hope to survive. We have to be ready all the time. 

And on his form? 

"I think I'm okay for now. i think improving day by day." 

35km remaining

Deceuninck hit the front again.

Tom Devriendt will soon have spent five hours out front alone. However his lead is down to 1:15. The end is nigh dear Tom. 

The final sprint is due in 10km. with 19km to go. It is followed by a turn in direction to right and there the wind could be a nasty cross wind.

Tom Devriendt's lead is down to 30 seconds.

25km remaining

C'est fini. 

Tom Devriendt is caught by the peloton. Gruppo compatto! 

Peter Sagan is at the back of the peloton, at perhaps the wrong moment. 

However he is using his bike skills to quickly move back up to the front. 

Crash! Another tangle at the back on narrow roads. 

The second intermediate sprint is in 1km and the road turns left just before it. 

Watch out for the attacks.  

Deceuninck is on the left of the road, Bahrain down the middle and Sunweb on the right.  

EF are also there protecting Higuita. 

20km remaining

1km to the sprint!

Pedersen surges away to win the sprint. 

Deceuninck take over and up the spread on an exposed section of road. 

Alaphilippe is on the front! Bennett is there. Deceuninck have move over to the right to force the rest of the peloton in the gutter. 

Some riders are already out of the back, including Richie Porte (Trek-Segafredo). 

There is not quite enough wind to spark echelons. But the attacks keep coming.  

Quintana and Higuita are the lightweight climbers of the pack but are well protected and are up front for now.  

There's lots of bumping and bouncing as riders touch shoulders and hips. The peloton is ready to explode. 

The wins is blowing hard from the riders' right. 

Some riders are trying to move up in the wind but it hurts.  

On a gradual descent the speed touches 75km/h. 

10km remaining

The final 5km includes several sweeping turns and rises too.  It will be a real test for the sprinters and their lead out men.

Bryan Coqaurd flats and takes his teammate's bike.  But it will be hard for him to get back up to the front.

Sagan, Gilbert and Viviani are all up front.

Kung is there for Pinot. 

Race leader Schachmann has slipped down the pack. He needs some help from Bora.

Cofidis have 3 riders there to help Viviani.

Crash! 

A touch of wheels causes 9 riders to crash at speed. 

Most went onto the grass and are okay. Poor Coquard got back on but was taken out by the crash. 

Up front Deceuninck force the pace on an open road.

5km remaining

It's going to split. Sunweb are trying to smash it. 

There only 40 or so riders up front, fighting for the best wheel and best position.

3km to go

Sunweb have Matthews and Bol. 

Riders try to move up on a fast downhill section, so the pack shuffles again.

2km to go!

The road rises slightly all the way to the finish. 

Sagan, Viviani and Nizzolo are up near the front. 

Last KM! 

Deceuninck take charge 

But Lotto move up for Ewan. 

Crash! Bennet pushed into the barriers. 

Cortina leads it out. Sagan is on his wheel but can't come past. Cortina takes the win!

Four Deceuninck riders stop to check on the condition of Bennett. He's sat on the road.

Cortina came from behind with a huge turn of power and speed. Everyone else was unable to come from behind him. 

Andrea Pasqualon of Circus Wanty took third place in the sprint.

Bennett got up and rode to the finish but is holding his left arm. 

This is the provisional top ten. 

1 Ivan Garcia Cortina (Spa) Bahrain McLaren 5:49:55
2 Peter Sagan (Svk) Bora-Hansgrohe
3 Andrea Pasqualon (Ita) Circus-Wanty Gobert
4 Cees Bol (Ned) Team Sunweb
5 Nacer Bouhanni (Fra) Team Arkea-Samsic
6 Rudy Barbier (Fra) Israel Start-Up Nation
7 Anthony Turgis (Fra) Total Direct Energie
8 Giacomo Nizzolo (Ita) NTT Pro Cycling
9 Mads Schmidt Würtz (Den) Israel Start-Up Nation
10 Oliver Naesen (Bel) AG2R la Mondiale

Bouhanni was fifth and Nizzolo eighth. 

That was a tense final and aggressive sprint finish. riders used their hips and heads to bump and push for position. 

This is the new general classification after stage 3. Maximilian Schachmann (Bora-Hansgrohe) retains the race lead. 


1 Maximilian Schachmann (Ger) Bora-Hansgrohe 13:12:01
2 Giacomo Nizzolo (Ita) NTT Pro Cycling 0:00:13
3 Jasper Stuyven (Bel) Trek-Segafredo 0:00:24
4 Mads Schmidt Würtz (Den) Israel Start-Up Nation 0:00:25
5 Sergio Andres Higuita Garcia (Col) EF Pro Cycling 0:00:26
6 Nils Politt (Ger) Israel Start-Up Nation 0:00:28
7 Krists Neilands (Lat) Israel Start-Up Nation 0:00:28
8 Felix Grossschartner (Aut) Bora-Hansgrohe 0:00:31
9 Vincenzo Nibali (Ita) Trek-Segafredo 0:00:31
10 Peter Sagan (Svk) Bora-Hansgrohe 0:00:36

Cortina managed to beat the sprinters because the road to the finish rose gradually. He hit out early and nobody could come past him.

It is only the 24-year-old Spanaird's second win after taking a stage of the Tour of California in 2019.

(Image credit: Getty Images)

"I was second place in the second stage, and it’s amazing now we have a stage in a big race like Paris-Nice," he said.  

"It’s a race I really like, so it’s a really big victory."

"It’s a surprise [to beat Peter Sagan].  

"There was a bit of chaos in the end. I found my place, a bit of space to go, and I had to go full, full gas to the end and I could take the victory."

"It’s weather I like. I suffered in the race, but I think everyone suffered. In the end I had good legs, so I do like these conditions."

Check out our stage report and growing photo gallery of all the action from the stage. 

Click below.

The podium ceremony confirms Schachmann is still in yellow. Higuita of EF is still the best young rider, while Nizzolo took the green points jersey. 

Wednesday's stage is a 15km individiual time trial around Saint-Amand-Montrond on a rolling and technical course.

Saint-Amand-Montrond is of course the birth place of Julian Alaphilippe.  

Here's the replay of the sprint.

Schachmann talked about the hectic finale of the stage.

"For the last 90 kilometres it were really difficult to just to secure the position in the front. Everybody was ready for a big crosswind action but it actually took place in the last eight kilometres," he said.

 

"In the end there were a few bad crashes, I hope nobody is injured. In the end I made it and finished somewhere in front."

 

Schachmann leads Nizzolo by just 13 seconds before Wednesday's 15km TT. 

"I showed in the past I could ride good time trials. I want to defend this beautiful jersey. I’m going to try my best. Tomorrow is the next challenge. 

"I’m going to give my best and then there are two hilly mountain stages. They will be the big showdown." 

This video from Lotto Soudal highlights how Caleb Ewan was caught up by the late crash that saw Bennett shoved into the barriers.

Every team looks for the positives after a hard fought race. This is Cofidis team manager Cedric Vasseur. Cofidis were well placed until the final kilometre but then Viviani got swamped and finished 52nd.

Bahrain McLaren Spanish rider Ivan Garcia Cortina L celebrates as he crosses the finish line at the end of the 2125 km 3rd stage of the 78th Paris Nice cycling race stage between ChalettesurLoing and La Chatre on March 10 2020 Photo by Alain JOCARD AFP Photo by ALAIN JOCARDAFP via Getty Images

This is a great shot of Cortina celebrating his superb win (Image credit: Getty Images)

For our full stage report, photo gallery and full results, click here. 

Join us on Wednesday for live coverage of the 15km individual time trial that will shake up the overall classification.

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