Carlos Betancur took the overall lead of the Paris-Nice by outsprinting world champion Rui Costa and winning the 6th stage of the week-long race.
The Columbian rider finished the 221.5 kilometer stage from Saint-Saturnin-les-Avignon to Fayence in 5 hours, 12 minutes and 11 seconds. Betancur was also victorious in the 5th stage that took place on Thursday. He is in the overall lead where he leads Geraint Thomas by eight seconds and Costa by 18 seconds.
“I knew it was going to be long day, with a lot of kilometers, but that the finale suited me,” Betancur said. “My AG2R team were very cohesive and this is the result of their great work. It would have been difficult to do better than we did today.”
Alexis Vuillermoz looked like he was going to take the 6th stage as he attacked late but was over taken by Betancur in the final kilometers. Vuillermoz was part of a breakaway group that contained Frank Schleck, Stefan Denifl, Yury Trofimov, Eduardo Sepulveda and Prezmyslaw Niemic that made a move during the ascent of Col de Bourigaille but were caught in the last few kilometers of the stage.
“I think Geraint Thomas remains one of my most dangerous rivals as well as Nibali,” Betancur said, “but AG2R are among the best teams to help me in the mountains and to defend the yellow jersey.”
The racers will travel to Biot Sophia Antipolis Saturday for the 195.5 kilometer 7th stage. The Paris-Nice ends on Sunday.