Primož Roglič (Jumbo-Visma) was to be the story of the day, crashing before TV cameras starting bringing images from the eighth and final stage of Paris Nice. The Slovenian, who held a 52-second lead over Schachmann as they started the stage, first fell on an early descent after passing through the finish line on the hilly 36km circuit.
He was up riding quickly with torn shorts and road rash on his left hip displaying the damage, but later on went down once again on the final circuit, on the same descent, again unseen by the TV cameras.
While racing in the flat valley section after the descent, about 25 kilometres out from the finish, he was caught out in a split in the peloton, and it quickly emerged that he had crashed for that second time, suffering a tear in his shorts on the right side as well.
Roglič rapidly ran out of Jumbo-Visma teammates in the chase to return as Astana-Premier Tech and BORA-hansgrohe applied the pressure at the front of the race. As the peloton continued to drive the pace, it became abundantly clear that Roglič was going to lose his overall lead, slipping behind Schachmann in the provisional standings.
Roglič then nearly found more misadventure as Tim Declercq (Deceuninck-QuickStep) carried a bit too much speed into a corner ahead of the race leader with 6 kilometres to go.
The race finished ahead of the fallen leader's position, with Cort Nielsen winning from a much-reduced peloton as one of the few riders who could muster much of a sprint, beating out Christophe Laporte (Cofidis) to the line with Pierre Latour (Total Direct Energie) third.
Roglič came over the line by himself in 56th, over three minutes down on the day, slipping down to 15th on the general classification, a poor indication of the dominance he displayed during the eight days of racing.
"How to say it? It's not the stage we were hoping for, I did some mistakes today. With the first one I dislocated the left shoulder and then one more time…" Roglič said, trailing off in his talk of the second fall.
"I just gave it all but unfortunately couldn't catch the first guys anymore. It's a little pity but we'll go on to the next [races]."
Roglič described what was going through his head during the shortened final stage, and as he tried to chase and save his overall lead.
"I was just thinking how to put everything out of your body," he said. "That's the main thing. It's always a fight and I think if you can fight this fight inside yourself, you did what you could.
"I was really going over myself, and in the end, it was how it was, so there's not much to add. Of course, we are disappointed but like I said the world will not stop and we will go forward."
The Slovenian star echoed scenes of his Tour de France defeat in 2020, graciously seeking out and congratulating Paris-Nice winner Schachmann, who ended up defending his title from the previous year.
"No one expected what happened today," said Schachmann. "It was chaos. "I have mixed feelings. It's great to be here in the yellow jersey but I wish I'd won in a different way."