Schachmann, despite his fall in the last kilometer, continues to lead the general, where he will be demanded by Higuita and Nibali.

Benoot, during the fifth stage, on the way to Apt.

On Friday, he had twisted with the loss of the Bahrain-McLaren team, which returned home to avoid further complications from the coronavirus. A hasty goodbye for Ivn Garca Cortina – winner of the third stage, second classified on Thursday – or Dylan Teuns, just over a minute from Maximilian Schachmann (Bora), leader of the general classification.

The matter was further complicated when Christian Prudhomme, director of ASO, announced the cancellation of the last stage of Paris-Nice. So the victory of Tiesj Benoot (Sunweb) at the Apt finish line, after 161 kilometers, went more unnoticed than was convenient in the Carrera del Sol.

Benoot's surprise coincided with a fall in the last kilometer of Schachmann, who now only has an 18-second advantage over the Belgian and 43 over Sergio Higuita, who on Saturday played his cards in the last stage, 166 kilometers, four ports and high end. The Valdeblore La Colmiane, from 16.3 kilometers to 6.3 percent of average slope, will be a demanding test for the rest of the favorites.

Schachmann, against the wall

To that fight will be added Vincenzo Nibali (Trek-Segafredo), who this Thursday moved his pieces in the Cote d'Auribeau, second category. However, Benoot, faithful squire of Soren Kragh Andersen, surprised with an exhibition of strength and crowned the last difficult mountain with half a minute of margin over a group where Julian Alaphilippe (Deceuninck) or Nairo Quintana (Arkea) stood out.

In a technical descent where he was not very comfortable, Benoot knew how to manage his nerves well to celebrate his third victory as a professional. Despite being well placed among the pursuing group, Schachmann lost control in a tight right-hand corner and rammed into the wall of a house. Being the sole culprit in his accident, he was not forgiven for the 40 seconds lost at the finish.

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