Tadej Pogacar takes over the Paris-Nice lead

La Chabanne (France) (AFP) - Two-time former Tour de France champion Tadej Pogacar climbed to the overall lead of Paris-Nice after an impressive performance in Wednesday’s fourth stage.

The Slovenian pipped David Gaudu by one second with Gino Maeder third 34 seconds behind in overcast conditions in central France.

Pogacar, 24, overtook Magnus Cort in the general classification to take the yellow jersey of the ‘Race to the Sun’ which ends on Sunday on the Cote d’Azur in Nice.

“It wasn’t my plan to take the yellow jersey today but you should never say no to yellow,” said the UAE Emirates team rider.

“It’s great to find this colour again,” he added.

France’s Gaudu commented: “He was stronger than me in the sprint. I’m second but it’s second to Pogacar!”

Last year’s Tour winner Jonas Vingegaard was dropped by Pogacar on the final climb up to La Loge des Gardes ski resort at 1,077m altitude and the Dane now sits 44 seconds behind in third overall.

Vingegaard had tried to slip the peloton around four kilometres out, with that break leaving little in the tank to challenge in the decisive dash for the line.

“When he went off I said to myself he must feel really strong… so I think he must have just collapsed a bit (at the end),” said Pogacar.

Groupama-FDJ’s Gaudu is sandwiched between Pogacar and Vingegaard, 10 seconds behind the 2020 and 2021 Tour champion.

Thursday’s fifth stage is a 212.5km ride from Saint-Symphorien-sur-Coise to Saint-Paul-Trois-Chateaux with four testing climbs as the peloton heads to the foothills of the Alps.