The unpredictable nature of this year’s Paris-Nice continued on stage six, with an uphill finish finally blowing the general classification apart.
Carlos Betancur (Ag2r-La Mondiale) stormed to his second consecutive stage win, courtesy of a strong team effort and a well-timed final attack to earn an eight-second overall lead.
Compared to the fine margins held by his predecessors in the yellow jersey, it is a relatively big lead but the race for the 2014 title continues to look as though it will go to the wire.
Many overall contenders have seen their GC hopes shattered in an explosive six days of racing so far, but a strong group remain in close contention to the Colombian, including Geraint Thomas (Team Sky), world road race champion Rui Costa (Lampre-Merida) and world cyclo-cross champion Zdenek Stybar (Omega Pharma-Quickstep).
But can anybody catch the in-form Betancur as he shapes up nicely for the Giro d’Italia?
Read our five observations over the following pages ahead of the final two stages.