Schachmann holds on to win Paris-Nice

Maximilian Schachmann (Bora-Hansgrohe) secured overall victory at the 2020 Paris-Nice on Saturday despite a late attack from Tiesj Benoot (Team Sunweb) on the closing climb to Valdeblore La Colmiane that pushed the German to the limit.

Nairo Quintana took the final stage with a blistering attack with 3.6km to go for which a select group of his rivals had no response. Arkea-Samsic’s Colombian leader soloed across the line for his third stage win of the season after taking overall wins previously at Tour de la Provence and Tour des Alpes.

Further down the hill, Schachmann battled to hang on to a chase group that included Vincenzo Nibali (Trek-Segafredo), Thibaut Pinot (Groupama-FDJ), Sergio Higuita (EF Pro Cycling) and Benoot, who started the day just 36 seconds down. 

The Belgian played his final card with just over a kilometre remaining, jumping away from his rivals with Quintana already up the road. Benoot got an initial gap, but Schachmann benefited from a chase by Higuita and was able to limit his losses to just 12 seconds, preserving his overall lead to Benoot by 18 seconds.

Higuita finished third overall at 59 seconds, Nibali was fourth at 1:16 and Pinot was fifth overall at 1:24.

"It was very, very hard,” Schachmann said after collapsing to the ground beyond the finish line.

"I think you saw that Patrick [Konrad], Schwarzy [Michael Schwarzmann] and Felix [Grobschartner] did an incredible job. We controlled the race with three riders. For me it was a really hard finish. I'm going to be honest, in the last three kilometres I walked through hell and a world of pain. But now it's like being in heaven. Every little bit of pain in my legs was worth it."

The 26-year-old German led the race from start to finish after taking out the opening stage and then finishing second to Søren Kragh Andersen in the 15.1km stage 4 time trial. With Paris-Nice being cut short one stage early because of the coronavirus pandemic, Saturday’s summit finish was Schachmann’s biggest test of the week, and he handled it well.

"This is the fourth year of my career, and this is one of the biggest wins of my career and one of the most important steps," he said. "It feels so great because for my whole life people were doubting if I could be a GC rider, but it was always my dream. Now I'm here and I've won one of the most prestigious one-week stage races."

Quintana’s stage win was further proof that the 30-year-old Colombian is on stellar form, albeit with the cycling season going into hiatus until at least April, if not longer. 

"I always try to win like this, with elegance and a good attitude," Quintana said after the stage. "We were highly motivated to do things well and have been working hard. The team worked hard to catch the break, and then I did what I had to do. 

"There was nothing I could do for the GC," he explained. "I crashed badly and l lost too much time that day. So I knew I had to attack today, because I wanted to bring joy to the team because of the effort that everyone has made. It is a gift for all of them. I always demand a lot, but here are the results."

Quintana showed no disappointment in the suspended season while he is riding high atop a curve of fitness, saying the world’s health is more important. He plans to return home to Colombia and continue training after a spell in quarantine to protect his family after the risk of coming into contact with the coronavirus during Paris-Nice.

"Now we'll try to return to Colombia, spend time with the family while this important problem for the world is resolved," he said.

"We are aware of what is happening, we've finally finished today and we will also be quarantined so that this virus does not continue to spread. We have to listen to the authorities so that this does not get out of hand, and we can all return to work soon."

How it unfolded

With Sunday's final stage around Nice cancelled because of the ongoing pandemic, Saturday’s 166.5km stage from Nice to a summit finish in Valdeblore La Colmiane would prove to be the most decisive of Paris-Nice.

The stage started like any other, as attacks sprang from the start until a move finally started to take shape when Anthony Perez (Cofidis) and Benoit Cosnefroy (AG2R La Mondiale) slipped away less than 10km into the day.

Thomas De Gendt (Lotto-Soudal), Julian Alaphilippe (Deceuninck-QuickStep), Fabien Doubey (Circus Wanty Gobert), Romain Bardet (AG2R La Mondiale) and Nicolas Edet (Cofidis) went on the attack, forcing a concerted chase by the other overall contenders

With 140km remaining, the lead group had coalesced into Alaphilippe, Aurélien Paret-Peintre (AG2R La Mondiale), De Gendt, Alberto Bettiol (EF Pro Cycling), Perez and Edet. The leaders built an ultimate gap of three minutes and Alaphilippe became virtual race leader for a moment, but Schachmann’s Bora-Hansgrohe teammates kept the escapees well in check throughout the day.

Perez dropped from the lead group with 35km remaining, leaving five up front while the gap started to come down precipitously, dipping to 1:30 with 25km to go.

Arkea-Samsic moved to the front of the bunch to help with the chase and set-up Quintana, and the leaders’ advantage continued to fall as teams positioned for the stage hunt and the final general classification effort.

The breakaway disintegrated at the bottom of the climb to the finish with 16km to go, leaving Just Alaphilippe and De Gendt up front. Soon it was just De Gendt at the head of affairs after Alaphilippe cracked, as the GC battle started to take shape behind them.

With 12km to go, De Gendt had 1:20 on the rapidly exploding peloton, but attacks from the bunch meant his chances were doomed.

Quintana was the first to pass De Gendt with 2.5km to go as the Belgian faded back into the fold and the GC fireworks started to go off. Quintana was on a mission and uncatchable, as Trek-Segafredo lined out the select group and an isolated Schachmann dug deep to stay on the wheels. 

Benoot made a late, brave attack and finished second but failed to gain enough time on Schachmann, who collapsed to the ground but went from the hell of lactic acid to the heaven of overall victory.

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Results
#Rider Name (Country) TeamResult
1Nairo Quintana (Col) Team Arkea-Samsic 4:27:01
2Tiesj Benoot (Bel) Team Sunweb 0:00:46
3Thibaut Pinot (Fra) Groupama-FDJ 0:00:56
4Sergio Andres Higuita Garcia (Col) EF Pro Cycling
5Vincenzo Nibali (Ita) Trek-Segafredo
6Maximilian Schachmann (Ger) Bora-Hansgrohe 0:00:58
7Guillaume Martin (Fra) Cofidis 0:01:19
8Tanel Kangert (Est) EF Pro Cycling 0:01:22
9Romain Bardet (Fra) AG2R la Mondiale 0:01:32
10Rudy Molard (Fra) Groupama-FDJ
11Thomas De Gendt (Bel) Lotto Soudal 0:01:48
12Soren Kragh Andersen (Den) Team Sunweb 0:02:10
13Felix Grossschartner (Aut) Bora-Hansgrohe 0:03:36
14Richie Porte (Aus) Trek-Segafredo 0:03:40
15Christopher Hamilton (Aus) Team Sunweb 0:03:54
16Xandro Meurisse (Bel) Circus-Wanty Gobert
17Fabien Doubey (Fra) Circus-Wanty Gobert 0:03:58
18John Degenkolb (Ger) Lotto Soudal 0:04:44
19Jasper Stuyven (Bel) Trek-Segafredo
20Olivier Le Gac (Fra) Groupama-FDJ
21Kenny Elissonde (Fra) Trek-Segafredo 0:05:40
22Aurelien Paret Peintre (Fra) AG2R la Mondiale 0:06:04
23Bob Jungels (Lux) Deceuninck-Quickstep 0:06:35
24Philippe Gilbert (Bel) Lotto Soudal 0:07:06
25Romain Combaud (Fra) Nippo Delko Provence 0:07:31
26Cees Bol (Ned) Team Sunweb 0:07:50
27Roman Kreuziger (Cze) NTT Pro Cycling 0:08:10
28Zdenek Stybar (Cze) Deceuninck-Quickstep
29Quentin Pacher (Fra) B&B Hotels-Vital Concept 0:09:19
30Cyril Barthe (Fra) B&B Hotels-Vital Concept
31Tim Declercq (Bel) Deceuninck-Quickstep
32Julian Alaphilippe (Fra) Deceuninck-Quickstep 0:09:56
33Nikias Arndt (Ger) Team Sunweb
34Winner Anacona (Col) Team Arkea-Samsic
35Stefan Kung (Swi) Groupama-FDJ 0:12:27
36Nico Denz (Ger) Team Sunweb 0:13:07
37Nicolas Edet (Fra) Cofidis 0:13:40
38Alberto Bettiol (Ita) EF Pro Cycling 0:14:19
39Sander Armee (Bel) Lotto Soudal 0:14:59
40Ryan Gibbons (RSA) NTT Pro Cycling
41Julien Vermote (Bel) Cofidis
42Kasper Asgreen (Den) Deceuninck-Quickstep
43Antoine Duchesne (Can) Groupama-FDJ
44Connor Swift (GBr) Team Arkea-Samsic
45Sebastian Schoenberger (Aut) B&B Hotels-Vital Concept
46Andrea Pasqualon (Ita) Circus-Wanty Gobert
47Dries Van Gestel (Bel) Total Direct Energie
48Michael Hundahl (Den) NTT Pro Cycling
49Dayer Quintana (Col) Team Arkea-Samsic
50Mikael Cherel (Fra) AG2R la Mondiale 0:17:03
51Matthieu Ladagnous (Fra) Groupama-FDJ 0:17:34
52Evaldas Siskevicius (Ltu) Nippo Delko Provence 0:18:49
53Michael Morkov (Den) Deceuninck-Quickstep
54Michael Matthews (Aus) Team Sunweb 0:19:08
55Patrick Konrad (Aut) Bora-Hansgrohe
56Niki Terpstra (Ned) Total Direct Energie 0:19:10
57Edward Theuns (Bel) Trek-Segafredo 0:19:27
58Anthony Perez (Fra) Cofidis 0:21:56
59Piet Allegaert (Bel) Cofidis
60Julien Trarieux (Fra) Nippo Delko Provence
61Mauro Finetto (Ita) Nippo Delko Provence
DNSMads Pedersen (Den) Trek-Segafredo
DNFAlex Kirsch (Lux) Trek-Segafredo
DNFNacer Bouhanni (Fra) Team Arkea-Samsic
DNFDaniel McLay (GBr) Team Arkea-Samsic
DNFTobias Ludvigsson (Swe) Groupama-FDJ
DNFMarc Sarreau (Fra) Groupama-FDJ
DNFPeter Sagan (Svk) Bora-Hansgrohe
DNFJuraj Sagan (Svk) Bora-Hansgrohe
DNFMichael Schwarzmann (Ger) Bora-Hansgrohe
DNFYves Lampaert (Bel) Deceuninck-Quickstep
DNFBenoit Cosnefroy (Fra) AG2R la Mondiale
DNFAlexis Gougeard (Fra) AG2R la Mondiale
DNFPierre Latour (Fra) AG2R la Mondiale
DNFNans Peters (Fra) AG2R la Mondiale
DNFFrederik Frison (Bel) Lotto Soudal
DNSRoger Kluge (Ger) Lotto Soudal
DNFCyril Lemoine (Fra) Cofidis
DNFDamien Touze (Fra) Cofidis
DNFTom Scully (NZl) EF Pro Cycling
DNFSep Vanmarcke (Bel) EF Pro Cycling
DNFLilian Calmejane (Fra) Total Direct Energie
DNFJonathan Hivert (Fra) Total Direct Energie
DNFAdrien Petit (Fra) Total Direct Energie
DNFAnthony Turgis (Fra) Total Direct Energie
DNFVictor Campenaerts (Bel) NTT Pro Cycling
DNFMichael Gogl (Aut) NTT Pro Cycling
DNSBen O'Connor (Aus) NTT Pro Cycling
DNSNils Politt (Ger) Israel Start-Up Nation
DNSJenthe Biermans (Bel) Israel Start-Up Nation
DNSTom Van Asbroeck (Bel) Israel Start-Up Nation
DNFJose Goncalves (Por) Nippo Delko Provence
DNFRamunas Navardauskas (Ltu) Nippo Delko Provence
DNFAime De Gendt (Bel) Circus-Wanty Gobert
DNFBoy Van Poppel (Ned) Circus-Wanty Gobert
DNFPieter Vanspeybrouck (Bel) Circus-Wanty Gobert
DNFBryan Coquard (Fra) B&B Hotels-Vital Concept
DNFJens Debusschere (Bel) B&B Hotels-Vital Concept
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Sprint 1 - Tournefort km. 133.5
#Rider Name (Country) TeamResult
1Alberto Bettiol (Ita) EF Pro Cycling 3
2Julian Alaphilippe (Fra) Deceuninck-Quickstep 2
3Nicolas Edet (Fra) Cofidis 1
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Sprint 2 - La Roche km. 161
#Rider Name (Country) TeamResult
1Thomas De Gendt (Bel) Lotto Soudal 3
2Romain Bardet (Fra) AG2R la Mondiale 2
3Richie Porte (Aus) Trek-Segafredo 1
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Sprint 3 - Valdeblore La Colmiane km. 166.5
#Rider Name (Country) TeamResult
1Nairo Quintana (Col) Team Arkea-Samsic 15
2Tiesj Benoot (Bel) Team Sunweb 12
3Thibaut Pinot (Fra) Groupama-FDJ 9
4Sergio Andres Higuita Garcia (Col) EF Pro Cycling 7
5Vincenzo Nibali (Ita) Trek-Segafredo 6
6Maximilian Schachmann (Ger) Bora-Hansgrohe 5
7Guillaume Martin (Fra) Cofidis 4
8Tanel Kangert (Est) EF Pro Cycling 3
9Romain Bardet (Fra) AG2R la Mondiale 2
10Rudy Molard (Fra) Groupama-FDJ 1
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Mountain 1 - Col De Vence km. 34.5
#Rider Name (Country) TeamResult
1Nicolas Edet (Fra) Cofidis 10
2Thomas De Gendt (Bel) Lotto Soudal 8
3Julian Alaphilippe (Fra) Deceuninck-Quickstep 6
4Anthony Perez (Fra) Cofidis 4
5Alberto Bettiol (Ita) EF Pro Cycling 3
6Aurelien Paret Peintre (Fra) AG2R la Mondiale 2
7Michael Schwarzmann (Ger) Bora-Hansgrohe 1
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Mountain 2 - Col De La Sigale km. 79.5
#Rider Name (Country) TeamResult
1Nicolas Edet (Fra) Cofidis 7
2Thomas De Gendt (Bel) Lotto Soudal 5
3Julian Alaphilippe (Fra) Deceuninck-Quickstep 3
4Aurelien Paret Peintre (Fra) AG2R la Mondiale 2
5Anthony Perez (Fra) Cofidis 1
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Mountain 3 - Cote De Saint Antonin km. 92
#Rider Name (Country) TeamResult
1Nicolas Edet (Fra) Cofidis 7
2Thomas De Gendt (Bel) Lotto Soudal 5
3Julian Alaphilippe (Fra) Deceuninck-Quickstep 3
4Aurelien Paret Peintre (Fra) AG2R la Mondiale 2
5Anthony Perez (Fra) Cofidis 1
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Mountain 4 - Valdeblore La Colmiane km. 166.5
#Rider Name (Country) TeamResult
1Nairo Quintana (Col) Team Arkea-Samsic 10
2Tiesj Benoot (Bel) Team Sunweb 8
3Thibaut Pinot (Fra) Groupama-FDJ 6
4Sergio Andres Higuita Garcia (Col) EF Pro Cycling 4
5Vincenzo Nibali (Ita) Trek-Segafredo 3
6Maximilian Schachmann (Ger) Bora-Hansgrohe 2
7Guillaume Martin (Fra) Cofidis 1
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Young riders
#Rider Name (Country) TeamResult
1Sergio Andres Higuita Garcia (Col) EF Pro Cycling 4:27:57
2Christopher Hamilton (Aus) Team Sunweb 0:02:58
3Aurelien Paret Peintre (Fra) AG2R la Mondiale 0:05:08
4Cees Bol (Ned) Team Sunweb 0:06:54
5Cyril Barthe (Fra) B&B Hotels-Vital Concept 0:08:23
6Kasper Asgreen (Den) Deceuninck-Quickstep 0:14:03
7Connor Swift (GBr) Team Arkea-Samsic
8Piet Allegaert (Bel) Cofidis 0:21:00
9Mauro Finetto (Ita) Nippo Delko Provence
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Teams
#Rider Name (Country) TeamResult
1Team Sunweb 13:27:53
2Groupama-FDJ 0:00:22
3Trek-Segafredo 0:02:30
4Lotto Soudal 0:06:48
5EF Pro Cycling 0:09:47
6Circus-Wanty Gobert 0:16:01
7Bora-Hansgrohe 0:16:52
8Deceuninck-Quick-Step 0:17:14
9AG2R la Mondiale 0:17:49
10Team Arkea-Samsic 0:18:05
11Cofidis 0:23:08
12B&B Hotels-Vital Concept 0:26:47
13NTT Pro Cycling 0:31:18
14Nippo Delko Provence 0:41:26
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General Classification
#Rider Name (Country) TeamResult
1Maximilian Schachmann (Ger) Bora-Hansgrohe 27:14:23
2Tiesj Benoot (Bel) Team Sunweb 0:00:18
3Sergio Andres Higuita Garcia (Col) EF Pro Cycling 0:00:59
4Vincenzo Nibali (Ita) Trek-Segafredo 0:01:16
5Thibaut Pinot (Fra) Groupama-FDJ 0:01:24
6Nairo Quintana (Col) Team Arkea-Samsic 0:01:30
7Rudy Molard (Fra) Groupama-FDJ 0:02:03
8Tanel Kangert (Est) EF Pro Cycling 0:02:16
9Felix Grossschartner (Aut) Bora-Hansgrohe 0:03:39
10Soren Kragh Andersen (Den) Team Sunweb 0:04:36
11Fabien Doubey (Fra) Circus-Wanty Gobert 0:05:36
12Guillaume Martin (Fra) Cofidis 0:06:37
13Jasper Stuyven (Bel) Trek-Segafredo 0:08:10
14Philippe Gilbert (Bel) Lotto Soudal 0:08:57
15Bob Jungels (Lux) Deceuninck-Quickstep 0:10:36
16Julian Alaphilippe (Fra) Deceuninck-Quickstep 0:11:00
17John Degenkolb (Ger) Lotto Soudal 0:11:36
18Olivier Le Gac (Fra) Groupama-FDJ 0:12:01
19Romain Bardet (Fra) AG2R la Mondiale 0:12:44
20Zdenek Stybar (Cze) Deceuninck-Quickstep 0:13:14
21Aurelien Paret Peintre (Fra) AG2R la Mondiale 0:16:27
22Xandro Meurisse (Bel) Circus-Wanty Gobert 0:17:12
23Nikias Arndt (Ger) Team Sunweb 0:17:34
24Roman Kreuziger (Cze) NTT Pro Cycling 0:18:20
25Thomas De Gendt (Bel) Lotto Soudal 0:19:09
26Michael Matthews (Aus) Team Sunweb 0:19:20
27Michael Hundahl (Den) NTT Pro Cycling 0:22:53
28Mikael Cherel (Fra) AG2R la Mondiale 0:26:40
29Stefan Kung (Swi) Groupama-FDJ 0:26:56
30Kasper Asgreen (Den) Deceuninck-Quickstep
31Tim Declercq (Bel) Deceuninck-Quickstep 0:26:59
32Winner Anacona (Col) Team Arkea-Samsic 0:27:55
33Sebastian Schoenberger (Aut) B&B Hotels-Vital Concept 0:30:44
34Patrick Konrad (Aut) Bora-Hansgrohe 0:30:55
35Kenny Elissonde (Fra) Trek-Segafredo 0:31:00
36Andrea Pasqualon (Ita) Circus-Wanty Gobert 0:31:32
37Romain Combaud (Fra) Nippo Delko Provence 0:31:50
38Cees Bol (Ned) Team Sunweb 0:32:01
39Matthieu Ladagnous (Fra) Groupama-FDJ 0:34:58
40Quentin Pacher (Fra) B&B Hotels-Vital Concept 0:35:25
41Richie Porte (Aus) Trek-Segafredo 0:36:04