Sam Bennett will wear the green jersey into the penultimate stage of the Paris-Nice.
However, the Waterford sprinter's efforts to win back-to-back stages came a cropper in the final kilometre of stage-6 into Biot.
Bennett was on the wheel of eventual stage winner Primoz Roglic (Jumbo-Visma) , and had his Deceuninck Quick-Step team-mates leading out the peloton, but he came to almost a dead stop before crossing the line 2'09" after the Slovenian.
Bennett wasn't expected to feature in the shake-up, on a stage that included five categorised climbs.
🏁 🇸🇮@rogla remporte sa 2ème victoire dans ce #ParisNice.
⏪ Revivez le dernier kilomètre.
🏁 🇸🇮@rogla claims his 2nd stage win in this #ParisNice.
⏪Relive the last kilometre.#ParisNice pic.twitter.com/FGhX9elKiJ
— Paris-Nice (@ParisNice) March 12, 2021
Roglic claimed a sprint finish from Christophe Laporte (Cofidis), Michael Matthews (Team BikeExchange) and Dylan Teuns (Bahrain Victorious).
The Tour de France runner-up will take a 41-second lead over Max Schachmann (Bora-Hansgrohe) into stage-7.
"To win like this is something new again and I’m glad I could do it," Roglic said afterwards, "For sure it was nice to see my family and get their support and to have the legs to win the stage today.
"It was just a full gas day, very hard from the beginning that’s why I’m also glad I won it.
"We’re all tired and it was beautiful that I could do it here.
"I have to deal with the change of courses and I don’t really care about it. For sure they will be two crucial stages like always at the end.
"I just expect full gas racing because they are quite short both of them so it will be pretty exciting. My focus is on myself, if I can stay focused with the whole team then it should be fine normally."
For the second year running, COVID-19 means the Paris-Nice will not finish in Nice.
Organisers have had to re-draw the final two stages of the race to deal with local restrictions. Sunday will finish up in Levens.
Both of the final two stages have been shortened, with fewer climbs which could mean more sprint glory for Bennett.
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