NICE, France — Sylvain Chavanel of France won a bunch sprint to take the sixth stage of the Paris-Nice race on Saturday, while Richie Porte of Australia kept the leader’s yellow jersey going into the final day.
Chavanel edged out Philippe Gilbert of Belgium to complete the 220-kilometer trek from Manosque to Nice in 5 hours, 14 minutes, 23 seconds.
“It’s a pleasant surprise. I was not really tackling Paris-Nice in great condition,” Chavanel said. “I had lots of confidence in the sprint because I saw on the first stages that I was well right now, even if I’m not a real sprinter.”
Porte is 32 seconds ahead of Andrew Talansky of the United States in the overall standings before Sunday’s final stage, and is looking to become the first Australian to win the weeklong race.
“From the start, the team controlled the race brilliantly and showed we were the stronger team in the race,” Porte said. “They made my job so much easier just to sit back with a few guys in front of me controlling the race.”
Egor Silin and Eduard Vorganov of Russia broke away from the pack in the opening kilometers and were later joined by nine riders. The small group built a lead that reached nearly four minutes after 87 kilometers, but was reeled in 37K from the finish.
The race ends on Sunday with a short individual time trial, a 9.6-kilometer climb from Nice to Col d’Eze.
“I know Col d’Eze very well as I live in Monaco,” Porte said. “I have to be confident. Yesterday I showed I had excellent climbing legs and this is a climbing time trial. There are still great time trial riders behind me but I have a 32-second head start on the next guy and it’s a nice position to be in.”