SISTERON, France – Frenchman Jerôme Cousin (Direct Energie) won on Thursday the fifth stage of the Paris-Nice cycling race, but Spain’s Luis Leon Sanchez (Astana) held onto to the leader’s yellow jersey.
Cousin’s gamble on a breakaway paid off handsomely.
The French rider produced a burst a speed in the sprint to beat the only other breakaway survivor, Germany’s Nils Politt (Katusha-Alpecin), to the finish line.
Cousin, 28, covered the 165 kilometers (102.5 miles) from Salon de Provence to Sisteron in 3:57.25, two seconds faster than Politt. Another German, Andre Greipel (ALE/Lotto Soudal), finished third, two seconds behind his countryman.
Sanchez retains the lead in the general classification, with an advantage of 15 seconds over Dutch rider Wout Poels.
Competitors will have to make six climbs over the course of Friday’s 188-km stage between Sisteron and Vence.