Wout Poels and Sergio Henao held firm on the general classification at Paris-Nice following a testing fifth stage.

Poels had to swerve hard to avoid a crash immediately in front of him inside the final kilometre as the peloton contested the finish in Sisteron.
Despite that the Dutchman remains 15 seconds off race leader Luis Leon Sanchez (Astana) with three stages to go. Henao retained ninth place overall, 48 seconds back, after finishing safely in the peloton.
The final kilometres turned into a tense battle between the breakaway and the peloton, with Jerome Cousin (Direct Energie) putting in a tactical ride to see off Nils Politt (Katusha-Alpecin) in a two-up sprint. The peloton arrived just four seconds later, denying a number of sprinters who had dragged themselves over the day’s climbs.
Team Sky hit the front on the final circuit, with Diego Rosa and then David de la Cruz setting a strong tempo, positioning Poels and Henao right up front on the third category Cote de la Marquise.
Diego Rosa

Diego Rosa

Everybody wanted to be at the front but we were able to take the climb in the first positions.

Diego Rosa played a key role on the run-in, and talked us through the battle on the final finishing circuit. He told TeamSky.com: “Today we had a really technical final with a small climb on narrow roads. Everybody wanted to be at the front but we were able to take the climb in the first positions. That meant we kept our two captains out of trouble. There was a crash in the final which we were able to avoid too so it was a good day for us.
“I’ve been feeling good this week. The team are waiting for the final three stages which will be really hard. We’re all focused on that, as we have Wout very close on GC and Sergio up there too. It’s good for us.
“Maybe if the weather is good my son (Elia) will be at the finish on Sunday. I hope we will have something to celebrate!”
The action ramps up again on Friday, with five categorised climbs and a tough rise to the finish in Vence.
Stage five report:

1. Jerome Cousin (Direct Energie) 3:57:25
2. Nils Politt (Katusha-Alpecin) +2"
3. Andre Greipel (Lotto Soudal) +6"
4. Magnus Cort Nielsen (Astana)
5. Alexander Kristoff (UAE-Team Emirates)

Overall standings:

1. Luis Leon Sanchez (Astana) 17:45:26
2. Wout Poels (Team Sky) +15"
3. Julian Alaphilippe (Quick-Step Floors) +26"
4. Marc Soler (Movistar) s.t.
5. Gorka Izagirre (Bahrain Merida) +34"
9. Sergio Henao (Team Sky) +48"

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