Tom Jelte Slagter of Garmin-Sharp has won his second stage of this year's Paris-Nice, beating world champion Rui Costa of Lampre-Merida to the line at Biot-Sophia Antipolis, with race leader Carlos Betancur third. Team Sky's Geraint Thomas, who was second overall this morning, crashed heavily with 5km remaining and lost several minutes.
Yesterday, it had been Slagter, who moved to third overall after taking Wednesday's Stage 4 in Belleville, who saw his hopes of fighting for the win evaporate as he crashed on the final climb of yesterday's Stage 5 in Fayence.
Today that unhappy fate fell to Thomas, who earlier in the week spent two days in the race leader's yellow jersey.
The crash that dashed his chances to follow Sir Bradley Wiggins and Richie Porte and become the third Team Sky rider in a row to win France's second biggest stage race happened with 5km left to ride of the 195.5km stage from Mougins.
Other riders brought down included Trek Factory Racing's Fränk Schleck, but Thomas looked the worst hurt as he lay alongside a roadside crash barrier. The Welshman was able to remount his bike, however, and crossed the line several minutes after Slagter.
For Costa, it's the second day running he has crossed the line with just the stage winner in front of him. It's early in the season, but inevitably that is already giving rise to talk of the of the Portuguese rider falling victim to the "curse of the rainbow jersey."
He now lies second overall, 14 seconds behind Betancur. With Thomas out of the equation and 10 seconds on offer to the stage winner tomorrow, the Colombian looks increasingly secure in the race lead aheadf of its conclusion tomorrow on a stage that includes an ascent of the Col d'Eze before the finish in Nice.
Born in Scotland, Simon moved to London aged seven and now lives in the Oxfordshire Cotswolds with his miniature schnauzer, Elodie. He fell in love with cycling one Saturday morning in 1994 while living in Italy when Milan-San Remo went past his front door. A daily cycle commuter in London back before riding to work started to boom, he's been news editor at road.cc since 2009. Handily for work, he speaks French and Italian. He doesn't get to ride his Colnago as often as he'd like, and freely admits he's much more adept at cooking than fettling with bikes.