Ilnur Zakarin (Katusha) outsprinted the top favourites to take the win in the mountaintop finish Saturday during stage 6 of Paris-Nice. Geraint Thomas (Team Sky) and Alberto Contador (Tinkoff) rounded out the podium one second behind, while defending champion Richie Porte (BMC Racing) was the fourth member of the group at seven seconds down.
With overnight leader Michael Matthews (Orica-GreenEdge) cracking on the final climb, Thomas’ runner-up finish propelled him into the overall race lead by 15 seconds over Contador and Zakarin in third at 20 seconds back. Porte is now fourth at 21 seconds down, followed by Tom Dumoulin (Giant-Alpecin) 32 seconds back in fifth.
The day’s decisive move came on the last of seven climbs, the category one La Madone d’Uteile. The small chasing group, of some 30 riders, caught Antoine Duchesne (Direct Energie), the last of the day’s break group, at the base of the climb.
Contador and Thomas both tried to attack out of the group but were unable to break from one another. The group of four – Zakarin, Thomas, Contador, and Porte – went under the red flag together. As Porte sagged back, Zakarin put on a final burst of speed to move around the two favourites and claim the victory.
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