SAINT-ETIENNE, France — Luis Leon Sanchez kept the leader’s jersey after the fourth stage of the Paris-Nice race on Wednesday as Wout Poels of the Netherlands powered to victory in the 18.5-kilometer time trial around Saint-Etienne.
Four-time Spanish time-trial champion Sanchez posted the seventh fastest time, 28 seconds off the pace.
The 2009 winner has a 15-second lead over Team Sky rider Poels in the general classification, with Frenchman Julian Alaphilippe a further 11 seconds behind in third.
Poels, who won the Liege-Bastogne-Liege classic in 2016, had no problem tackling the small Saint-Heand climb 10.4 kilometers from the finish and looked comfortable on the technical parts of the stage.
Poels was 11 seconds faster than Marc Soler of Spain. Alaphilippe ended third, 16 seconds adrift.
Thursday’s fifth stage takes the peloton to Sisteron on a hilly 165-kilometer ride featuring four climbs.