NICE, France (AP) Italian rider Davide Cimolai won the hilly fifth stage of the Paris-Nice race on Friday, attacking Bryan Coquard in the last 10 meters in a sprint to the line and beating the Frenchman by half a bike length.
The overall standings remain unchanged, with Polish rider Michal Kwiatkowski one second ahead of Richie Porte and three seconds clear of Geraint Thomas, who both ride for the Sky team.
The 192.5-kilometer (120-mile) trek from the industrial city of Saint-Etienne to Rasteau in the Rhone wine region started with a big climb but flattened out enough to give riders the chance to form a breakaway.
Thomas De Gendt led heading into the last kilometer but was then caught. Coquard attacked first, about 300 meters out, but Cimolai countered.
''This is an important victory for me,'' said Cimolai, who made the decision to skip the Tirreno-Adriatico race, which is held in Italy. ''In previous years I used to go on (the) Tirreno. I'm glad I changed my approach this season and I hope this will help me get a leader's position in Milan-San Remo.''
Michael Matthews - the winner of the third stage - finished third. All three were timed in 4 hours, 12 minutes, 9 seconds.
Saturday's sixth and penultimate stage is the big mountain stage of the week-long race, and gives climbing specialist Porte - the 2013 Paris-Nice champion - an ideal opportunity to take the overall lead.
The 184.5-kilometer (114.4-mile trek) features three Category 1 climbs and starts from the southeastern town of Vence before ending in Nice on the Mediterranean sea.