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Paris - Nice 2014: Stage 5

Welcome to the live coverage of the Stage 5 of Paris-Nice from Crêches-sur-Saône to Rive-de-Gier

The peloton have completed almost 50km already. Five riders have escaped up the road, they are Jan Bakelants (Omega Pharma-QuickStep), Gorka Izagirre (Movistar), Brice Feillu (Bretagne-Séché Environnement), Matthew Busche (Trek Factory Racing) and Sylvain Chavanel (IAM Cycling)

The riders have completed two third category climbs already. There is one more, Côte de Saint Martin en Haut, at 103km and the second category Côte de Sainte-Catherine. From there, a 13km descent to the finish.

98km remaining from 152km

The latest gap for the break stands at 2:30

Geraint Thomas (Sky) is wearing the yellow jersey today. He leads John Degenkolb (Giant-Shimano) by 3 seconds in the general classification, after finishing second behind Tom-Jelte Slagter (Garmin-Sharp) on stage 4.

Of the five escapees, Bakelants is the biggest threat to Thomas' lead. He is only 19 seconds down on the sky rider. Although the time gaps are pretty small at the moment, so the jersey is within the grasp of many riders.

Chevanel lost more than a minute on the leader yesterday when he blew on the final climb after was forced to chase back on from a puncture. The Frenchman says he hopes that will allow him to go on the attack for the rest of the week.

Chavanel lost more than a minute on the leader yesterday when he blew on the final climb after was forced to chase back on from a puncture. The Frenchman says he hopes that will allow him to go on the attack for the rest of the week.

Chavanel lost more than a minute on the leader yesterday when he blew on the final climb after was forced to chase back on from a puncture. The Frenchman says he hopes that will allow him to go on the attack for the rest of the week.

Sky were in the bad books with ASO this week, after the late withdrawal of Richie Porte, but Thomas' yellow jersey will go some way to fixing that. It's going to be tough for Thomas to retain the jersey at the end of today, but he says he will give it a go.

Sky was in the bad books with ASO this week, after the late withdrawal of Richie Porte, but Thomas' yellow jersey will go some way to fixing that. It's going to be tough for Thomas to retain the jersey at the end of today, but he says he will give it a go.

Sky was in the bad books with ASO this week, after the late withdrawal of Richie Porte, but Thomas' yellow jersey will go some way to fixing that. It's going to be tough for Thomas to retain the jersey at the end of today, but he says he will give it a go.

Sky was in the bad books with ASO this week, after the late withdrawal of Richie Porte, but Thomas' yellow jersey will go some way to fixing that. It's going to be tough for Thomas to retain the jersey at the end of today, but he says he will give it a go.

Sky was in the bad books with ASO this week, after the late withdrawal of Richie Porte, but Thomas' yellow jersey will go some way to fixing that. It's going to be tough for Thomas to retain the jersey at the end of today, but he says he will give it a go.

85km remaining from 152km

Sky is sitting on the front of the peloton and keeping the five escapees in check. The current time gap is 2:20

Today's finish features a fairly long descent with a flat run to the line. Could we Vincenzo Nibali trying something here? The Italian opted for Paris-Nice over defending his Tirreno-Adriatico title this season, as he hopes to put an end to the Sky domination at the Tour in July.

80km remaining from 152km

The gap between the breakaway and the peloton continues to hover between 2:20 and 2:30, as the stage reaches its midway point.

Today's finish town of Rive-de-Gier is the home of former AG2R rider Cyril Dessel, who wore the Tour de France's yellow jersey in 2006.

77km remaining from 152km

Aware of the danger that this break poses to Thomas, Sky have upped the pace and cut the lead down to 2:05.

72km remaining from 152km

The escapees are approaching the first of two intermediate sprint today where there are bonus seconds of 3, 2 and 1 available for the first three across the line.

None of the escapees are a threat to John Degenkolb's lead in the points classification. With a victory and two second places, he is 11 points ahead of Nacer Bouhanni in those standings.

The average speed of the second hour of racing is a little lower than the first, at 40.3kph. Still, the gap has reduced to just 2 minutes.

If you want to keep tabs on all the racing today, you can also follow stage 2 of Tirreno-Adriatico live here. Mark Cavendish is the current leader after his Omega Pharma-QuickStep team won the opening team time trial.

62km remaining from 152km

Bakelants takes the points and the bonus seconds at the first intermediate sprint, with Izagirre and Feillu following him through. That now puts 16 seconds off Thomas' lead.

The gap is also being cut down quickly by Sky. The five escapees now have a lead of 1:45 on the peloton

This is how the top 10 looked at the beginning of today. With that second category climb near the finish, it could change quite a lot by the end of the day.

1 Geraint Thomas (GBr) Team Sky 18:14:25
2 John Degenkolb (Ger) Team Giant-Shimano 0:00:03
3 Tom Jelte Slagter (Ned) Garmin Sharp 0:00:04
4 Jose Joaquin Rojas Gil (Spa) Movistar Team 0:00:08
5 Samuel Dumoulin (Fra) AG2R La Mondiale 0:00:12
6 Wilco Kelderman (Ned) Belkin-Pro Cycling Team 0:00:15
7 Carlos Alberto Betancur Gomez (Col) AG2R La Mondiale 0:00:17
8 Zdenek Stybar (Cze) Omega Pharma - Quick-Step Cycling Team 0:00:19
9 Cyril Gautier (Fra) Team Europcar
10 Arnold Jeannesson (Fra) FDJ.fr

The five leaders are now on the penultimate climb of Côte de Saint Martin en Haut, which is a8.6km long ascent that averages 4.5%

53km remaining from 152km

The gap has been cut down even further now to 1:25. The break are just delaying the inevitable, but how long will the peloton keep them out for?

Winner of stage 1 Nacer Bouhanni decides to call it quits on this climb. He's the second rider to abandon today, after Egoitz Garcia climbed off earlier.

Bouhanni is not a fan of the climbs and he lost almost 10 minutes on yesterday's climb. This is the second consecutive year that the Frenchman has abandoned Paris-Nice. He did so last year after he crashed out while wearing the yellow jersey and landed face first. He crashed on stage one this year, but came back to take the sprint.

49km remaining from 152km

As the leaders crest the penultimate climb, the gap has been reduced to 1 minute.

Chavanel took the full points at the top of the climb which puts him equal on points with current classification leader Valerio Agnoli. He'll hope that he can stay away to the top of the next ascent and put himself into the lead in that competition. Feillu took the two points, with Busche taking the final point.

Chavanel took the full points at the top of the climb which puts four points behind current classification leader Valerio Agnoli. Feillu took the two points, with Busche taking the final point.

The peloton continue to reel in the five breakaway riders. The gap is now under the minute. It doesn't look like they will make it to the top of the next climb before they're caught.

Good news for women's cycling the UCI will broadcast the World Cup across many European TV stations, including the BBC, RAI Sports, NOS and Canal+

41km remaining from 152km

Giant-Shimano has stepped in to help Sky with the work on the front of the peloton. They will want to keep John Degenkolb in contention for today. Despite the climb at the finish, he could still contend for the stage victory, provided he hasn't burnt up too much energy on the ascent.

Degenkolb has been climbing well at Paris-Nice and says that he's right on track for Milan-San Remo in just over a week's time.

37km remaining from 152km

Not long before the support vehicles will have to move out of the way. The gap is now down to a mere 35 seconds with 37km to go

35km remaining from 152km

Izagirre goes a little wide on this very twisty descent, but he is ok. Chavanel is leading the five escapees down.

Romain Bardet (AG2R-La Mondiale) off the back at the moment. No clear if he's had a mechanical issue. He crashed earlier today.

A split in the peloton, with Europcar and FDJ driving the pace. The peloton are very strung out as they continue to chase

It was Jimmy Engoulvent (Europcar) who did the damage there. He swings off and lets FDJ take up the front. Sky are sitting comfortably just behind them.

Another twisty descent for the leaders, before they take on the final climb. 30 seconds still between them and the peloton.

29km remaining from 152km

It could be game over for Samuel Dumoulin in terms of today's stage after he makes a bike change. He will have to chase hard to get back on now.

No real surprise that Andy Schleck missed out on the split and he is off the back. Schleck had a mechanical and lost over 7 minutes yesterday.

Bakelants wins the second sprint uncontested. He reduces his gap to Thomas down to 13 seconds now.

24km remaining from 152km

25 seconds separates the escape and the peloton as they begin to climb for the final time today.

Bardet, Dumoulin and Bouet from AG2R are chasing to get back to the peloton. Bardet is a contender for the overall, while Dumoulin could still sprint for victory today.

Chavanel launches an attack and Feillu follows him. Chavanel is looking for stage wins this week.

Bardet and Dumoulin are now 30 seconds down on the main group, but Bardet looks to be struggling after his efforts in the chase.

22km remaining from 152km

Chavanel is not giving up today. He launches another attack and manages to distance his break companions. Vanendert also goes off the front of the peloton.

Przemyslaw Niemiec (Lampre) joins Jelle Vanendert, but they don't have a big gap.

Bardet can see the peloton, but it might be a stretch too far for the Frenchman. Ramunas Navardauskas has to give him a little shove so that he can get back on. Dumoulin has given up the chase

20km remaining from 152km

Only Chavanel remains up front with the other escapees caught. It's only time before he gets brought back in. He has 20 seconds on the peloton.

The peloton have Chavanel in their sights. The gap is down to 8 seconds now as Laurent Didier tries to bridge the gap

The pace is too high for Thomas Voeckler and he has been dropped by the peloton

18km remaining from 152km

Didier still trying to cross the gap, but he's currently stuck in no man's land. Chavanel still up front

Chavanel has now been caught by the peloton. Didier is now on his own up front.

17km remaining from 152km

Didier has built up a slim 10 second gap on the David Lopez lead peloton.

There is a short descent for the riders before the road goes up once again to the top of the Côte de Sainte-Catherine

Geraint Thomas still has David Lopez and Edvald Boasson Hagen with him at the front of the peloton. John Degenkolb is safely within the bunch, but his team are nowhere to be seen at the front.

15km remaining from 152km

Dider powering along in the big ring. He's still got 8 seconds on the peloton, but that gap could disappear very quickly.

Didier caught and Stefan Denifl tries his luck off the front.

Time gap is said to be 15 seconds between Denifl and the peloton, but it looks an awful lot closer than that.

Vincenzo Niabli goes on the attack

12km remaining from 152km

Nibali is followed by Carlos Betancur at they go over the top of the climb. Thomas bridges the gap.

It is all together again at the front as they make their descent. Nibali took 7 points at the top of that climb.

Nibali leads the way and pulls out a small lead. He keeps looking over his shoulder to see where the rest of the group is, they're not going to let him get away too easily.

Thomas tries to keep up with Nibali but overcooks one of the corners. Zdenek Stybar now sits in between the two riders.

9km remaining from 152km

Betancur attacks

Betancur makes a sizeable gap for himself. Jakob Fuglsang and Bob Jungels are chasing him down.

The two chasers join Betancur, but the peloton are very close behind.

6km remaining from 152km

These attacks could be enough to send most of the sprinters out the back here. No news if Degenkolb is still in the group.

Fuglsang, Jungels and Betancur still have 8 seconds on the chasers. The Colombian is the best place of these three and he could take the yellow jersey.

John Degenkolb has managed to stay in this group and he is now on the front of the chasers, in tandem with Thomas.

4km remaining from 152km

The leaders are working well together and they still hold a 11 second gap on the peloton, who seem disorganised.

It's all about who is the better sprinter today, with the flat finish. Jungels could cause an upset here if the three escapees make it to the finish.

1km remaining from 152km

Niki Terpstra has now taken the front of the chasing group. Tom Boonen is their man for the stage victory today.

under the flamme rouge for the three leaders

Betancur outsprints Fuglsang for the victory

Now to calculate the time differences. He gets a 10 second bonus for the win, but the time gap was only a handful of seconds meaning Thomas keeps the race lead

Bryan Coquard won the bunch sprint ahead of Tom Boonen and Reinardt Janse van Rensburg

Betancur had a slow start to the season but has gradually been improving, with overall victory at the Tour de Haut Var.

The top 10 has been shaken up a little bit and now looks like this.

1. Geraint Thomas

2. John Degenkolb +3

3. Tom-Jelte Slagter +4

4.Carlos Betancur +5

5. Jose Joaquin Rojas +8

6. Jakob Fuglsang +13

7. Wilco Kelderman +15

8. Zdenek Stybar +19

9. Cyril Gautier +19

10. Arthur Vichot +19

That's it for today, join us again tomorrow for stage 6 of Paris-Nice where the real climbing begins.

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