Beaujeu- Frenchman Julian Alaphilippe claimed a dominant victory on the fourth stage of the Paris-Nice race on Wednesday and seized the overall lead in style.
The Quick Step rider finished 19 seconds ahead of Spain's Alberto Contador at Mont Brouilly, near Lyon, in the 14.5km time-trial that began in Beaujeu and ended with a 3km climb over the vineyards of the Beaujolais.
Tony Gallopin came third on the day and is up to second in the overall standings, 33 seconds behind Alaphilippe. Contador is now 1min 31sec off the pace in eighth.
Alaphilippe's win was the second for a Frenchman since the race began on Sunday. The 24-year-old, who came fourth in the Rio Olympics road race last year, had never previously won a major time-trial.
"It really was the type of stage that suited me, with a quick first part made more technical by the rain and then the climb," Alaphilippe said.
"I had a good feeling. I couldn't let this chance pass me by. I have been coming close to claiming a big victory for a while now."
Two-time former Paris-Nice winner Richie Porte of Australia was the quickest rider up the Mont Brouilly climb but finished 10th on the stage, 50 seconds behind the winner.
Thursday's fifth stage will take the peloton 199.5km from Quincie-en-Beaujolais to Bourg-de-Peage.
Leading results from the fourth stage of the Paris-Nice, a 14.5km time-trial from Beaujeu to Mont Brouilly on Wednesday:
1. Julian Alaphilippe (FRA/ETI) 14.5 km in 21min 39sec (average: 40.2 km/h), 2. Alberto Contador (ESP/TRE) at 0:19, 3. Gorka Izagirre (ESP/MOV) 0:20, 4. Tony Gallopin (FRA/LOT) same time, 5. Ilnur Zakarin (RUS/KAT) 0:33, 6. David De la Cruz (ESP/ETI) 0:45, 7. Michael Matthews (AUS/GIA) 0:47, 8. Sergio Henao (COL/SKY) 0:48, 9. Jon Izagirre (ESP/TBM) 0:49, 10. Richie Porte (AUS/BMC) 0:50.
1. Julian Alaphilippe (FRA/Etixx) 12h36:27, 2. Tony Gallopin (FRA/LOT) at 0:33, 3. Gorka Izagirre (ESP/MOV) 0:47, 4. Sergio Henao (COL/SKY) 1:05, 5. Daniel Martin (IRL/ETI) 1:20, 6. Philippe Gilbert (BEL/ETI) 1:24, 7. Ilnur Zakarin (RUS/KAT) 1:28, 8. Alberto Contador (ESP/TRE) 1:31, 9. Rudy Molard (FRA/FDJ) 1:32, 10. Arnaud Dmare (FRA/FDJ) 1:35.
34. Richie Porte (AUS/BMC) at 16:01.