Cycling - GB’s Thomas seizes yellow at Paris-Nice, Slagter wins stage four

Tom Jelte Slagter edged a sprint duel with fellow breakaway rider Geraint Thomas to win stage four at Paris-Nice, as the Welshman snatched the overall lead.

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Cycling - GB’s Thomas seizes yellow at Paris-Nice, Slagter wins stage four
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Netherlands' Tom Jelte Slagter celebrates as he crosses the finish line ahead of Britain's Geraint Thomas (AFP)

Wilco Kelderman led home a 27-strong chasing pack to take third, five seconds behind the front two.

Thomas’ second place finish was enough to wrestle the yellow jersey from overnight leader John Degenkolb.

“It’s unbelievable,” he told Road Cycling UK. “Paris-Nice is one of the biggest stage races in world behind the Tour de France and the Giro.

“To wear the jersey is great and I’m very happy.”

Slagter broke clear from the peloton on the final climb, the category two Mont Brouilly ascent, with Thomas setting off in pursuit.

Degenkolb crossed the summit 30 seconds adrift of the leaders, but he was unable to reel them with just one teammate for company in the pursuing group.

That left Slagter and Thomas to battle it out for the stage win, and it was the Dutch rider who sprinted across the line to take victory for Garmin-Sharp.

Thomas leads Degenkolb by three seconds in the overall standings, with Slagter a further second back in third.

Stage four results

1. Tom-Jelte Slagter (Netherlands / Garmin) 5:00:09"

2. Geraint Thomas (Britain / Team Sky) ST

3. Wilco Kelderman (Netherlands / Belkin) +5"

4. Michael Matthews (Australia / Orica)

5. Zdenek Stybar (Czech Republic / Omega Pharma - Quick-Step)

6. Arthur Vichot (France / FDJ.fr)

7. Peter Velits (Slovakia / BMC Racing)

8. Jose Joaquin Rojas (Spain / Movistar)

9. Cyril Gautier (France / Europcar)

10. Samuel Dumoulin (France / AG2R)

Overall standings

1. Geraint Thomas (Britain / Team Sky) 18:14:25"

2. John Degenkolb (Germany / Giant) +3"

3. Tom-Jelte Slagter (Netherlands / Garmin) +4"

4. Jose Joaquin Rojas (Spain / Movistar) +8"

5. Samuel Dumoulin (France / AG2R) +12"

6. Wilco Kelderman (Netherlands / Belkin) +15"

7. Carlos Betancur (Colombia / AG2R) +17"

8. Zdenek Stybar (Czech Republic / Omega Pharma - Quick-Step) +19"

9. Cyril Gautier (France / Europcar)

10. Arnold Jeannesson (France / FDJ.fr)

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