Hello there and welcome along to our live coverage of the final day of Paris-Nice. Primoz Roglic (Jumbo-Visma) looks unflappable in the race lead, with three stage wins already under his belt, but this race has thrown up plenty of last-minute drama in the past...
Bonjour Le Plan-du-Var ! 👋#ParisNice pic.twitter.com/2NjUe8i8r1March 14, 2021
The riders have all signed on and we're just a few minutes away from the roll-out. The race proper is set to begin at 14:30 local time.
Before we get going, if you need a re-cap, now's the time, because this stage is set to be short but intense. Full report and standings after yesterday's stage 7 can be found at the link below.
The riders roll out into the neutral zone.
Like yesterday, today's stage has been altered due to the coronavirus situation in Nice. Restrictions have been eased and the mayor didn't want the famous seafront Promenade des Anglais shut off to the public all day.
The stage was always going to be short, at 110km, but now it's even shorter, at 92.7km. It's also significantly less hilly. There were six hefty climbs on the original menu, but now it's just three (although there is some uncategorised uphill stuff). It's a small circuit based on the relatively gentle Côte de Duranus (3.9km at 3.7%), which is tackled three times before the uphill finish at Levens.
If Roglic is to be unseated, it's going to take some ambush.
The flag has dropped and we're underway. On such a short stage, it's sure to be fast from the start.
Sam Bennett (Deceuninck-QuickStep) had an impressive ride in the break yesterday, and he's at it again here. His group is pegged back, though.
The next breakaway attempt comes from Julien Bernard (Trek-Segafredo) and Remi Cavagna (Deceuninck-Quick Step) but they, too, are brought to heel.
Mechanical problem for Max Schachmann (Bora-Hansgrohe), who's second overall.
A reminder of the GC ahead of today's stage
1 Primoz Roglic (Slo) Jumbo-Visma 26:32:01
2 Maximilian Schachmann (Ger) Bora-Hansgrohe 0:00:52
3 Aleksandr Vlasov (Rus) Astana-Premier Tech 0:01:11
4 Ion Izagirre Insausti (Spa) Astana-Premier Tech 0:01:15
5 Tiesj Benoot (Bel) Team DSM 0:01:34
6 Lucas Hamilton (Aus) Team BikeExchange
7 Guillaume Martin (Fra) Cofidis 0:02:06
8 Steven Kruijswijk (Ned) Jumbo-Visma 0:02:07
9 Jack Haig (Aus) Bahrain Victorious 0:02:10
10 Matteo Jorgenson (USA) Movistar Team 0:02:21
Another group - Swift, Amador, Sutterlin, Bernard and Touzé - gets a gap before being brought back.
Another group of seven is taken back now. We're hitting the categorised climb of the Côte de Duranas for the first time, although it's been uphill from the start.
Schachmann is back in the bunch.
It has indeed been a fast and furious start. The peloton is splitting into several groups on this climb.
Over the top of the Duranus we go, and this is the order they reached the KOM point.
1. Dylan Van Baarle (Ineos) 5 points
2. Dylan Teuns (Bahrain Victorious) 3 points
3. Sergio Henao (Qhubeka Assos) 2 points
4. Quentin Pacher (B&B Hotels) 1 point
78km to go
Those four riders have clipped away with two others, giving us a lead group of six.
Dylan van Baarle (Ineos Grenadiers)
Dylan Teuns (Bahrain Victorious)
Sergio Henao (Qhubeka Assos)
Quentin Pacher (B&B Hotels)
Dorion Godon (AG2R Citroën)
Louis Meintjes (Intermarché-Wanty-Gobert)
Those six are caught now. Plenty of riders have been distanced from this bunch.
Jorgenson attacks! The Movistar man is 10th overall.
Jorgenson's attack is quickly snuffed out.
The riders cross the finish line for the first time, where it's doubling up as an intermediate sprint, with bonus seconds (3-2-1) up for grabs.
Aurélien Paret-Peintre (AG2R), 12th overall, is first at the sprint, followed by Krists Neilands (Israel Start-Up Nation), and then Schachmann, who reduces his deficit to Roglic to 51 seconds.
David Gaudu crashes. The Groupama-FDJ rider's overall hopes were already dented by that mid-race crash with Geoghegan Hart.
Roglic has crashed as well!
Correction, the final bonus second went to Lucas Hamilton (BikeExchange) - not Schachmann. Hamilton was 6th overall and that second takes him into 5th above Tiesj Benoot (DSM).
Roglic looks fine and is now back in the peloton, which slowed to allow him back in. He had teammates to guide him back but no one sought to take advantage there.
Pascal Ackermann (Bora-Hansgrohe) has abandoned.
A shot of an earlier breakaway attempt. That's Connor Swift on the front, who we've spoken to about riding the Classics this year before supporting Nairo Quintana again at the Tour de France. Here's the link if you're interested.
The riders reach the foot of the descent and now the road tilts uphill again.
Another breakaway attempt comes now, with three riders going clear. Reactions, behind, though.
Roglic has a huge road rash on his left hip.
Gaudu has abandoned after his crash. Not a great week for the Frenchman.
57km to go
We have four riders in the lead now:
Tim Declercq (Deceuninck-QuickStep)
Jonas Rutsch (EF-Nippo)
Sven Bystrom (UAE Team Emirates)
Edward Theuns (Trek-Segafredo)
Warren Barguil (Arkea-Samsic) launches a counter attack. A few others get involved.
Barguil has Cees Bol (DSM), Stefano Oldani (Lotto Soudal), and Johan Jacobs (Movistar) for company.
Bora-Hansgrohe are leading the bunch now, 30 seconds from the front four.
The Barguil group is 20 seconds behind the leading quartet.
Roglic's Jumbo-Visma team are also contributing to the pace setting in the peloton. The gap is up to 38 seconds.
Here's a shot of the effects of Roglic's crash
🟡 De retour dans le peloton, 🇸🇮@rogla porte quelques stigmates de sa chute. 🟡 Back in the peloton, 🇸🇮@rogla bears some scars from his fall. #ParisNice pic.twitter.com/geZ4ht5lVzMarch 14, 2021
And here's Gaudu, who has abandoned.
Jacobs has been dropped from the chase group. He's caught by the bunch.
Another crash. It's Lutsenko, who's holding his back.
A touch of wheels sends Lutsenko into the high rocks on the roadside.
47.5km to go
The chase group catches the leaders to make it a front group of 7. They're on the Côte de Duranus again now.
Laurens De Plus (Ineos) attacks from the bunch.
De Plus is already across to the break!
Luis Leon Sanchez (Astana) attacks now.
Sanchez kicks again. He draws out a Total Direct Energie rider.
They're going nowhere but the bunch is really strung out now as we continue uphill.
44.5km to go
Those accelerations have brought the gap down to just 15 seconds at the top of the climb.
We're on the descent again now and George Bennett has taken control of the peloton. The gap to the lead group goes back out to 30 seconds.
We've also got racing at Tirreno-Adriatico. Huge drama over there. We've got live coverage of that one as well.
The gap rises to 50 seconds as Jumbo control the peloton.
Sanchez attacks again!
Neilands is with Sanchez. Others set off to join.
Trentin gets involved now. The peloton is still close at hand.
The Sanchez and Trentin group moves clear now. Eight in there
Here's the composition of that chase group
Luis Leon Sanchez (Astana), Krists Neilands (Israel Start-Up Nation), Michael Matthews (BikeExchange), Omar Fraile (Astana), Matteo Trentin (UAE), Julien Bernard (Trek-Segafredo), Damien Touzé (AG2R-Citroen), Dylan Theuns (Bahrain)
36.2km to go
The lead group is coming to the finish now for the second time. And there's the bell.
There are bonus seconds on the line but none of these riders are in the GC picture.
Sanchez leads the chase group across at 30 seconds
And now Jumbo bring the peloton across at 1:10
The riders are on the descent again, and the gaps have stabilised.
26km to go
We hit the flat again, and the chase group can see the lead group.
Theuns and Barguil are arguing over workload in the lead group.
Split in the peloton and Roglic is caught out!
We didn't see how that happened but George Bennett is dropped and Roglic is leading a second peloton on his own!
FDJ are working with Roglic here. Their leader Gaudu has already gone home...
The gap is growing!
The lead group and the chase group have come together to create a large breakaway. The peloton is still split.
Roglic has Kruijswijk chasing with him.
Bora are putting the hammer down in the front peloton.
Intermarche are also working in the Roglic bunch.
Qhubeka lend Bora a hand in the front bunch.
Fraile has been called back from the break.
George Bennett is back and helping with the chase.
Roglic is 20 seconds behind the peloton!
Roglic has another tear in his shorts - this time on the right hip. That could well be another crash.
Roglic is alone now!
Roglic has burned all his teammates in the chase and now he's launched a solo mission to get back to the bunch.
Somehow, Nacer Bouhanni is pacing Roglic back to the peloton.
Amid all this drama, the break has been breaking up.
Roglic is losing time here! 30 seconds now!
17km to go
Cofidis and Astana are working with Bora here to distance Roglic.
Barguil, Bystrom, Bernard and Rutsch have gone clear up the road. They're 40 seconds ahead of the bunch.
40 seconds now is Roglic's deficit! Wow!!!
Schachmann started the day 52 seconds down on Roglic….
The chase group has been caught by the advancing peloton.
One minute now for Roglic!
He's losing the race here.
Politt drives this on for Bora, and they're riding Schachmann to a second successive Paris-Nice title
Roglic lost the Tour de France at the death last year, and it's happening again. Extraordinary.
Bouhanni gives Roglic one last turn before the race leader goes solo.
14km to go
14km to go now and the peloton is just 22 seconds behind the leading four. Roglic is 1:10 behind that bunch.
Roglic has found another unlikely ally. It’s Victor Campenaerts (Qhubeka Assos). That’s the Hour Record holder, so a decent engine
The road is rising but the official climb of the Duranus is yet to start. We'll do that, then a short descent, then the haul to the line at Levens.
1:20 now is Roglic's deficit. Surely he can't come back from this.
Bernard attacks from the break. Rutsch is dropped.
Astana chip in once more to help keep Roglic at bay.
Astana, we remind you, have Vlasov third overall and Izaguirre fourth. They were at 1:11 and 1:15 from Roglic respectively. That's 19 seconds and 23 seconds behind Schachmann, who is now the virtual race leader.
11km to go
Astana and Bora had a common interest in distancing Roglic but Bora now become the enemy as Astana look to overhaul Schachmann. We're nearing the climb proper.
The Astana-led bunch catches the break.
Rohan Dennis hits the front of the bunch now. Ok then...
Roglic is burning through riders dropped from the bunch but he's only losing more ground. 1:45 now.
Van Baarle attacks. Izaguirre goes with it!
But now Vlasov attacks!
Schachmann hunts it down. But Izaguirre is on his wheel and Astana are trying to double up on the German.
2 minutes now for Roglic with 9km to go. It's all over, surely.
Geschke is on the front now for Cofidis, his fellow German in tow. Cofidis have Guillaume Martin 7th overall but he's some way down.
The Roglic incident wasn't caught on camera. It seems he crashed for a second time, but we can't be certain about what caused that split. There could be a bit of controversy to come....
7.5km to go
Roglic continues to breeze past dropped riders. He has 7.5 miserable kilometres to ride here.
Roglic reaches the top of the Duranus 2:05 in arrears.
Geschke leads the heavily reduced bunch down the short descent. The road will soon head uphill to the finish, where we should see fresh action from Astana.
The Spaniard goes as soon as the gradients picks up. Geschke is toast. Schachmann responds.
A lull, but now Henao attacks
Izaguirre goes again
Roglic almost crashes again!!
He's following Declercq downhill, and the Belgian goes off the road. Roglic brakes just in time and stays upright.
Neilands is the next to attack.
Martin attacks too. Gino Mader is there too.
A lull behind, but now Izaguirre responds to an AG2R move.
Roglic at 2:30 now. He's slipping out of the top 10.
Neilands, Mader, and Martin have established a gap.
3.5km to go
Just 3500m to go and the trio have 10 seconds in hand.
If these three stay away, they'll eat up the bonus seconds, which Astana really need.
The trio is about to be caught, and Mader goes again
2km to go
2km to go and still around 20 riders in this GC group.
The trio are caught. DSM take it up with Hindley.
An AG2R rider takes it up now as we head towards the final kilometre.
Flamme rouge. We're into the final kilometre and it looks like it's going to be a sprint from a heavily reduced bunch.
Schachmann bumps shoulders with an EF rider. Really nervy moment.
Magnus Cort for EF opens up...
But here comes Laporte!
Cort gets it! Just...
Magnus Cort (EF-Nippo) wins stage 8 of Paris-Nice
Max Schachmann (Bora-Hansgrohe) wins the 2021 Paris-Nice
Roglic is still riding alone to the finish
Roglic crosses the line 3:08 down. He's out of the top 15.
Roglic rides up to Schachmann and offers him a fist bump. What a gesture that is.
Schachmann raises his hand almost in apology
Does Schachmann have anything to apologise for?
That will be a major talking point here. We still don't know exactly what happened with Roglic when he was caught behind. It seemed to be a crash. Some will feel that you shouldn't attack the yellow jersey when they crash, but others will argue that it's absolutely fair game.
Roglic doesn't seem to have any grievances anyway.
1 Magnus Cort (Den) EF Education-Nippo 02:16:58
2 Christophe Laporte (Fra) Cofidis
3 Pierre Latour (Fra) Total Direct Energie
4 Dylan Teuns (Bel) Bahrain Victorious
5 Warren Barguil (Fra) Team Arkea-Samsic
6 Dylan van Baarle (Ned) Ineos Grenadiers
7 Ion Izagirre Insausti (Spa) Astana-Premier Tech
8 Matteo Jorgenson (USA) Movistar Team
9 Yves Lampaert (Bel) Deceuninck-QuickStep
10 Maximilian Schachmann (Ger) Bora-Hansgrohe
Final overall standings
1 Maximilian Schachmann (Ger) Bora-Hansgrohe 28:49:51
2 Aleksandr Vlasov (Rus) Astana-Premier Tech 00:00:19
3 Ion Izagirre Insausti (Spa) Astana-Premier Tech 00:00:23
4 Lucas Hamilton (Aus) Team BikeExchange 00:00:41
5 Tiesj Benoot (Bel) Team DSM 00:00:42
6 Guillaume Martin (Fra) Cofidis 00:01:14
7 Jack Haig (Aus) Bahrain Victorious 00:01:18
8 Matteo Jorgenson (USA) Movistar Team 00:01:29
9 Aurélien Paret Peintre (Fra) AG2R Citroën Team 00:01:31
10 Gino Mäder (Swi) Bahrain Victorious 00:01:32
Magnus Cort confirms in his flash interview that Roglic crashed twice.
"It's a perfect way to finish. I couldn't be happier," says Cort.
"It was a very intense stage. It was hard to predict, with many possible outcomes for breakaway, and Primoz crashed twice today. In the end it came down to a sprint and I was still there, so I'm very happy.
"It was a hectic last few kilometres because there were no trains to keep the speed up and everyone in position. It was really about elbows and I did a bit of my own lead-out. I saw the finish on the previous laps and I knew it was quick, with a small corner with 150 metres to go. I thought if I was first through that corner, no one could pass me, and I succeeded in that."
Here's our report page
And here's a story on Roglic. We'll have quotes from him soon.
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