BOURG-DE-PEAGE, France (AP) — German cyclist Andre Greipel won the fifth stage of the Paris-Nice in a sprint finish on Thursday, while Julian Alaphilippe comfortably retained his lead.
Greipel positioned himself behind the wheel of Arnaud Demare of France and surged past him as they went for the line.
Dylan Groenewegen of the Netherlands finished third, with the trio clocking the same time of nearly five hours over the 199.5 kilometers (124 miles) to Bourg-de-Peage in southeastern France.
In a stage made for sprinters, the race contenders were not involved.
Alaphilippe remains 33 seconds ahead of French countryman Tony Gallopin, with Gorka Izaguirre of Spain .47 back in third spot with three stages of climbing ahead.
The standings are likely to be shaken up after Stage 6. The 193.5-kilometer (112-mile) trek from Aubagne to Fayence in southern France features three category 1 climbs, the second toughest under race classification.
There are three more category 1 climbs on Saturday, and two more on Sunday before a downhill finish to Nice.