Paris-Nice finish hit by Covid-19 lockdown, Roglic retains lead

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The Paris-Nice race was to have ended on the Promenade des Anglais in Nice

The Paris-Nice cycling race will not finish in Nice as planned on Sunday because of a local coronavirus lockdown in the Riviera resort, authorities announced on Thursday.

Race organisers ASO are in talks "to change the route" of the closing two stages after the reimposition of a weekend lockdown in the area, the regional government announced.

"These stages can only take place outside the confined area and behind closed doors," the statement announced, ruling out the traditional finish on Nice's iconic Promenade des Anglais.

On Wednesday, Nice mayor Christian Estrosi had called for the finish to be switched from its traditional location to allow local residents the chance to use the Promenade for their allotted lockdown exercise period.

Last year's final Paris-Nice stage was scrapped following the announcement the day before of France's first lockdown due to the coronavirus pandemic.

The area is under its third weekend lockdown following what the Alpes-Maritime regional authority described as "the continuing very worrying" health situation and "extremely high" pressure on the resources of local hospitals.

The original route planned for the race to finish on Sunday with a 110.5 kilometre ride starting and finishing in Nice.

The start to Saturday's penultimate stage was also scheduled for the centre of the city.

Slovenia's Primoz Roglic retained his lead after Ireland's Sam Bennett took the fifth stage sprint to repeat his opening day success, easily denying home hope Nacer Bouhanni et German Pascal Ackermann.

Roglic held on to the leader's yellow jersey despite taking a tumble.

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