Matthews extends green-jersey lead at Paris-Nice

Orica-GreenEdge aim to defend sprint classification through Sunday’s finale

Orica-GreenEdge’s Michael Matthews has increased his lead in the sprint classification following his third-place finish in stage 5 at Paris-Nice on Friday. He now has a six-point lead ahead of Alexander Kristoff (Katusha) with two stages to go.

“We have extended the lead on the green jersey, hopefully we can get a few more points tomorrow and bring it home on Sunday,” said Orica-GreenEdge director Laurenzo Lapage.

Davide Camolai (Lampre-Merida) won the stage 5 sprint ahead of Bryan Coquard (Europcar) and then Matthews. Lapage said that after his riders worked at the front of the field to defend Matthews’ race lead during the previous day’s stage 4, it was not up to them to control the race today.

“But as the situation allowed, we competed at the end,” he said. “The boys moved towards the front with two or three kilometres to go, like they have the previous days and that was perfect for Bling.”

Matthews started Paris-Nice with an eighth place in the prologue, only 12 seconds behind Michal Kwiatkowski (Etixx-QuickStep). He sprinted to 10th on stage 1 and fourth on stage 2 but finally got the win he was hoping for in the stage 3 sprint, where he also took over the yellow leader’s jersey and green sprint jersey.

He lost the leader’s jersey on stage 4 to Kwiatkowski following the uphill finish on the Croix de Chaubouret but would like to keep the green jersey all the way to the finale on Sunday.

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