Sergio Henao slipped back in the general classification following an incredibly tough finale to the Queen stage at Paris-Nice.
The penultimate stage was won by a well-timed late attack by Simon Yates (Mitchelton-Scott) who won both the stage and moved into the overall lead with one stage remaining.
Yates attacked with 4km to go and despite strong work from David De La Cruz to limit the losses of the chasing group, he and Henao were eventually dropped in the final kilometre, with the Colombian finishing seventh.
Behind Yates was Dylan Teuns (BMC Racing) who finished second, with Ion Izagirre and Gorka Izagirre (both Bahrain-Merida) placing third and fourth
Henao remains eighth overall, now 57 seconds behind race leader Yates ahead of Sunday’s final stage which features two category one climbs on a short 110km course around Nice.
In previous years the final stage has been decisive. A lot of things can happen still.
Earlier in the stage Team Sky were split on the final descent, with Henao in the second group having to work hard to come back to the main lead bunch and Sport Director Gabriel Rasch pointed to this affecting the Colombian’s chances in the closing kilometre.
He said: “It was a super hectic stage at one point the group split so that wasn’t ideal for us and we had to use. Then in the final we paid a bit for that.
“We’ll see tomorrow as in previous years the final stage has been decisive. A lot of things can happen still.”
Stage seven result
1. Simon Yates (Mitchelton-Scott) 5:02:54
2. Dylan Teuns (BMC Racing) +8”
3. Ion Izagirre (Bahrain-Merida) +13”
4. Gorka Izagirre (Bahrain-Merida) s.t.
5. Tim Wellens (Lotto-Soudal) s.t.
7. Sergio Henao (Team Sky) +46”
1. Simon Yates (Mitchelton-Scott) 27:29:02
2 Ion Izagirre (Bahrain-Merida) +11”
4 Gorka Izagirre (Bahrain-Merida) +12”
5. Tim Wellens (Lotto-Soudal) +13”
5. Dylan Teuns (BMC Racing) +27”
8 Sergio Henao (Team Sky) +57”