• Warren Barguil spends a bit too long behind his team car and is disqualified from Paris-Nice 2020 (Supplied)Source: Supplied
The race jury kicked Warren Barguil to the kerb after he surfed behind his team car for too long. But it was just one of the eventful things Paris-Nice dished up on the opening stage.
Cycling Central

9 Mar 2020 - 4:53 AM  UPDATED 9 Mar 2020 - 7:24 AM

After crashing with Romain Bardet (Ag2R) around 60kms from the finish, Barguil (Arkea-Samsic) gingerly got back on his bike then took refuge behind his team's race car. 

For far too long, the race jury ruled, citing UCI article forbidding drafting.

They booted him from the race, but not before he skulked home nearly 15 minutes behind stage winner Max Schachmann. 

It wasn't the strangest thing that happened on Stage 1 of Paris-Nice. Sure, there were the ensuing echelons after the crash of Barguil and Bardet which split the race apart for a spell, Julian Alaphilippe and Tiesj Benoot escaping from the lead group just as the race behind began re-forming, then the gallantry of Schachmann and Dylan Teuns (Bahahrain McLaren) on the final climb.  

WATCH: A crash, crosswinds, carnage and the cold - Paris-Nice 2020 Stage 1 Highlights

But we also saw stage winner and race leader Schachmann proceed to the podium for the stage prize and yellow and green jerseys with the rewards already bestowed, celebrations without the usual obligatory dignitary kissing/hand shaking, part of a raft of measures deployed by race organisers ASO to prevent the potential spread of the coronavirus. 

WATCH: No kissing on the Paris-Nice podium? Sacre bleu!

The race opened with a subdued team presentation, a reduced number of press interviews with fans kept behind barriers away from riders and team buses at the start and finish around Plaisir. 

The larger pre race press conference was also cancelled and just the host broadcaster interviewing Scachmann after the stage. 

Paris-Nice going ahead despite withdrawal of five WorldTour teams
Paris-Nice will go ahead despite the withdrawal of WorldTour teams Astana, CCC, Ineos, Mitchelton-Scott and UAE due to coronavirus concerns. Watch Paris-Nice 2020 LIVE on SBS and streaming via SBS On Demand 8-15 March.

The race was largely turned on its head with a number of the GC favourites either finishing within a respectable deficit or said goodbye to their GC hopes. 

The worst affected was of course a banged up Bardet, who with Australian Richie Porte, finished two minutes and 52 seconds behind Schachmann. The Tasmanian did say at the outset he was only at Paris-Nice for stage wins. 

Leadership rests on the shoulders of Porte's Trek-Segafredo team mate Vincenzo Nibali, his race calendar currently geared towards May's Giro d'Italia. Nibali finished with several main GC favourites, 25 seconds behind today's race leader Schachmann. 

And what about Caleb Ewan? Well, it wasn't a day built for him and he lives to fight another stage. 

And Michael Matthews? He was caught out by the echelons but his team was well represented in the leading group with Benoot finishing third on the stage and sitting second overall after gaining bonus seconds out on the road. 

LIVE coverage of Paris-Nice 2020 on SBS and SBS On Demand continues with Stage 2, Tuesday 10 March 0.40am AEDT. 

The main GC contenders after Paris-Nice 2020 Stage 1:

Dylan Teuns  +04
Julian Alaphilippe +07
Pello Bilbao +24
Sergio Higuita +25
Vincenzo Nibali +25
Michael Woods +25
Thibaut Pinot +25
Nairo Quintana +25
Romain Bardet +2:52
Richie Porte +2:52