Sisteron - Former champion Luis Leon Sanchez of Spain pipped German veteran Jens Voigt in a two-up sprint to win the sixth stage of Paris-Nice here Friday.
Britain's Bradley Wiggins retained the race leader's yellow jersey with a 6 second lead on Dutchman Lieuwe Westra, with American Levi Leipheimer in third at 10 sec, two days from the finish in Nice.
Sanchez, the 28-year-old Rabobank rider who won the race in 2009, and Voigt then got themselves into a seven-man breakaway that built a 4 min 30 sec lead on the peloton at the halfway stage.
In the closing 10 km they took command of their own destiny by pulling away on the final climb to virtually set up a victory duel.
The pair lost time coming into the finish, where discussions were briefly held before 40-year-old Voigt launched his sprint in the last few hundred metres.
Sanchez, however, came out from the RadioShack rider's wheel, taking victory by a wheel-length at the line.
The main peloton, which had meanwhile swallowed up the stragglers, was led over the finish 14 secs later by Australian Heinrich Haussler.
At 219.5 km long, Saturday's penultimate stage is the longest of the race.
The race concludes on Sunday with a 9.6 km uphill time trial from Nice to the Col d'Eze.