Schachmann survives trial and tightens grip on lead

Saint-Amand-Montrond (France) (AFP) –


Max Schachmann strengthened his hold on the lead in Paris-Nice on Wednesday after finishing second in the time trial behind Soeren Kragh Andersen.

Schachmann, a German who rides for Bora, finished the 15.1 kilometre ride in Saint-Amand-Montrond six seconds slower than Kragh Andersen, a Dane who rides for Sunweb.

The 26-year-old started the day with a 13-second lead and increased his advantage to 58 seconds.

Wednesday's winner Kragh Andersen jumped from 19th to second overall. His team leader Tiesj Benoot slipped to seventh, 13 seconds further back.

"I like some hills and tempo shifts so it was super good for me," the Dane said after the victory. "I'm here to help the team and Tiesj. This was my chance. I'm so glad I took it."

Julian Alaphilippe of Deceuninck, who was riding round his home town, placed 18th.

Thursday's fifth stage is the longest of the event, a hilly 227 kilometres from Gannat to La Cote-Saint-Andre where the flat finish could give the sprinters a last chance to make an impact.

Results from the fourth stage of Paris-Nice, a 15.1 time trial kilometre in Saint-Amand-Montrond on Wednesday:

1. Soeren Kragh Andersen (DEN/Sunweb) 18 minutes 51 seconds, 2. Maximilian Schachmann (GER/BOR) at 6sec, 3. Kasper Asgreen (DEN/DEC) 12sec, 4. Thomas De Gendt (BEL/LOT) 13, 5. Pello Bilbao (ESP/BAH) 15, 6. Victor Campenaerts (BEL/NTT) 17, 7. Michael Matthews (AUS/SUN) 18, 8. Stefan Kueng (SUI/FDJ) 26, 9. Tobias Ludvigsson (SWE/FDJ) 27, 10. Lawson Craddock (USA/EF1) 29.