Primoz Roglic won his third stage of this year's Paris-Nice on Saturday, consolidating his lead in the yellow jersey with victory atop the summit finish at Valdeblore La Colmiane.
The Slovenian rider chased down Switzerland's Gino Mader, the last man standing from stage seven's early breakaway, to extend his advantage to 52 seconds heading into Sunday's finale.
Ireland's Sam Bennett set off among 13 cyclists who broke clear early into the 119km stage from Le Broc, but the escape group splintered on the final climb to La Colmiane, located at 1500m altitude.
Mader attacked and distanced Neilson Powless less than 5km from the finish but saw his lead melt away as Roglic hit the accelerator before sprinting to a third win in four days.
"I always want to win," said Roglic. "I saw an opportunity and I took it. It was a short, but tough stage. In the end it was very tight, but luckily I managed to take the win.
Tour de France runner-up Roglic edged Mader by two seconds with Maximilian Schachmann third on the day. The German is second to Roglic overall.
"Paris-Nice is a great race and I would like to add it to my palmares," said Roglic.
"But we are not there yet. I expect the necessary attacks tomorrow and we have to stay sharp and focused to bring the victory home."
Sunday's concluding stage, which traditionally finishes on the Promenade des Anglais in Nice, will end instead around 40km north in the town of Levens, to avoid a local Covid lockdown.
It will start from the Plan du Var and take the form of a quasi-loop.
Results and standings after the seventh stage of Paris-Nice on Saturday, a 119.2km run from Le Broc to La Colmiane:
1. Primoz Roglic (SLO/Jumbo) 3hr 09min 18sec, 2. Gino Mader (SUI/BAH) at 02sec, 3. Maximilian Schachmann (GER/BOR) 5, 4. Lucas Hamilton (AUS/BIK) 8, 5. Aleksandr Vlasov (RUS/AST) 10, 6. Tiesj Benoot (BEL/DSM) 10, 7. Guillaume Martin (FRA/COF) 15, 8. Ion Izagirre (ESP/AST) 15, 9. Harm Vanhoucke (BEL/LOT) 22., 10. Jai Hindley (AUS/DSM) 22
1. Primoz Roglic (SLO/Jumbo) 26hr 32min 01sec, 2. Maximilian Schachmann (GER/BOR) at 52sec, 3. Aleksandr Vlasov (RUS/AST) 1:11, 4. Ion Izagirre (ESP/AST) 1:15, 5. Tiesj Benoot (BEL/DSM) 1:34, 6. Lucas Hamilton (AUS/BIK) 1:34, 7. Guillaume Martin (FRA/COF) 2:06, 8. Steven Kruijswijk (NED/JUM) 2:07, 9. Jack Haig (AUS/BAH) 2:10, 10. Matteo Jorgenson (USA/MOV) 2:21