Fayence -Colombian rider Carlos Betancur of the AG2R La Mondiale team won the sixth stage of the Paris-Nice on Friday to take the leader's jersey two days before the race finish.
It was the second straight stage win for Betancur who overtook Portuguese world champion Rui Costa on a steep summit finish.
Czech rider Zdenek Stybar crossed in third three seconds behind the leader and ahead of Britain's Geraint Thomas who had been wearing the leader's yellow jersey.
The final climb was a gruelling 1,200 metres with a 10 percent gradient after the 221.5km stage.
French rider Alexis Vuillermoz fell on the final bend while Dutchman Tom-Jelte Slagter suffered a mechanical problem as both had been challenging Costa and Betancur.
Betancur, 24, holds an eight-second overall lead on Thomas with Costa at 18sec.
Saturday's seventh stage covers 195.5km between Mougins and Biot Sophia Antipolis, and includes five climbs.
Results and standings from Friday's 221.5km sixth stage of the Paris-Nice race from Saint-Saturnin-les-Avignon to Fayence:
1. Carlos Betancur (COL/AG2R La Mondiale) 5hr 12min 11sec (average: 42.6 km/h), 2. Rui Costa (POR/LAM) s.t., 3. Zdenek Stybar (CZE/OPQ) at 03sec, 4. Geraint Thomas (GBR/SKY) 03, 5. Arthur Vichot (FRA/FDJ) 03, 6. Cyril Gautier (FRA/EUC) 07, 7. Jakob Fuglsang (DEN/AST) 07, 8. Tony Gallopin (FRA/LTB) 07, 9. Stefan Denifl (AUT/IAM) 07, 10. Gorka Izaguirre (ESP/MOV) 07
1. Carlos Betancur (COL/AG2R) La Mondiale 27hr 04min 48sec, 2. Geraint Thomas (GBR/SKY) at 08sec, 3. Rui Costa (POR/LAM) 18, 4. Zdenek Stybar (CZE/OPQ) 22, 5. Jose Joaquin Rojas (ESP/MOV) 24, 6. Jakob Fuglsang (DEN/AST) 25, 7. Arthur Vichot (FRA/FDJ) 27, 8. Jan Bakelants (BEL/OPQ) 29, 9. Cyril Gautier (FRA/EUC) 31, 10. Stefan Denifl (AUT/IAM) 31