SALON-DE-PROVENCE, France (AP) Kazakh rider Alexey Lutsenko won the mountainous fifth stage of the Paris-Nice race on Friday to move into second place overall behind overnight leader Michael Matthews of Australia.
Lutsenko surged away 15 kilometers (9 miles) from the end of the hilly route and finished 21 seconds clear of Alexander Kristoff who won the bunch sprint for second place ahead of Matthews, who placed third in the stage.
''The priority was the yellow jersey more than the stage win,'' Matthews said. ''I'm not going to say I can win Paris-Nice, but I'm going to give it everything I have.''
The 198-kilometer (123-mile) route to Salon-de-Provence featured the famed Mont Ventoux, one of the most feared climbs on the Tour de France.
Kristoff tried to stay on Lutsenko's wheel, but dropped off as Lutsenko accelerated on the fifth and final climb up Col de Seze and rode away to victory.
''It's my best victory of the season, for me and for the team,'' said Lutsenko, who won a stage on last year's Tour of Switzerland. ''Tomorrow, we will see.''
Saturday's penultimate sixth stage stays in the mountains, featuring seven climbs.