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Carlos Betancur wins stage 5 of Paris-Nice

AP - Sports

RIVE-DE-GIER, France (AP) -- Carlos Betancur of Colombia won the fifth stage of the Paris-Nice race Thursday in a sprint to the line, while British rider Geraint Thomas retained the overall lead.

After the last of the stage's four small climbs, three riders pulled away near the end and Betancur easily beat Luxembourg rider Bob Jungels in a dash to the line. Jakob Fuglsang of Denmark finished third, with all three given the same time of 3 hours, 38 minutes, 15 seconds over the 153 kilometers (95 miles) from Creches-sur-Saone to Rive-de-Gier.

''Yesterday, I attacked too early but today I felt good,'' Betancur said through a translator. ''I lost a bit of time yesterday, but now I'm back in contention for the race.''

In the overall standings, Thomas is three seconds ahead of German rider John Degenkolb, four ahead of Tom Jelte Slagter of the Netherlands, and five clear of Betancur.

French rider Nacer Bouhanni dropped out because of knee pains after in a crash of Sunday's first stage, which he won.

Friday's sixth stage is a 221.5-kilometer (137-mile) trek from Saint-Saturnin-les-Avignon to Fayence and is the toughest so far, featuring four moderate climbs and a category one ascent up Col de Bourigaille.

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