SISTERON, France — French rider Jerome Cousin won the fifth stage of the Paris-Nice race by beating Nils Politt in a sprint Thursday.

After Cyril Gautier and a few others had been felled in a crash, Cousin launched his attack with 200 meters to go to finish two seconds ahead of German cyclist Politt.

Specialist sprinter Andre Greipel of Germany, a multiple stage winner on the Tour de France, was four seconds behind Cousin in third place.

The 165-kilometer (102-mile) trek from Salon-de-Provence to Sisteron in southeastern France featured three modest climbs and a tough one up Col de Lagarde d’Apt. Cousin clocked 3 hours, 57 minutes, 25 seconds.

Spanish rider Luis Leon Sanchez kept the leader’s yellow jersey. The 2009 winner has a 15-second lead over Team Sky’s Wout Poels, with Julian Alaphilippe a further 11 seconds behind in third.

Friday’s stage takes the pack into the mountains on a 198-kilometer journey to Vence in the Alpes-Maritimes region.

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