PARIS, March 14 (Reuters) - German Maximilian Schachmann battled through the final stage to win the Paris-Nice stage race by 18 seconds on Saturday.
Schachmann limited the damage on the final climb as he held off his nearest overall challenger Belgian Tiesj Benoot as the race was cut short by a day due to the coronavirus, with the season now heading into an indefinite break.
The final stage to La Colmiane was won by Colombian Nairo Quintana.
World champion Mads Pedersen of Denmark pulled out before the start on Saturday after his country asked its nationals to come home amid the coronavirus outbreak.
“As a team we always said that we would respect the authorities in this emergency,” the Trek-Segafredo rider said in a team statement.
“My country has asked that all Danish nationals go home as soon as possible, so in agreement with the Team I’m not taking the start this morning to respect this decision.”
Denmark announced on Friday it would shut its borders to most foreign visitors for a month from Saturday, in a move unprecedented in peacetime as part of efforts to halt the spread of coronavirus.
Paris-Nice started last Sunday and with France having banned gatherings of more than 100 on Thursday, the race has been stripped of its final stage in Nice. (Reporting by Julien Pretot; Editing by Tony Lawrence)