Andreas Kloeden takes overall lead

VERNOUX-EN-VIVARAIS, France -- Andreas Kloeden beat Samuel Sanchez of Spain in a sprint finish Thursday to win the mountainous fifth stage of the Paris-Nice race and take the overall lead.

The 35-year-old German finished the 119.7-mile stage from Saint-Symphorien-sur-Coise to Vernoux-en-Vivarais in just under five hours. It contained two Category 1 climbs and one smaller Category 2.

Kloeden, who won the race in 2000, leads Sanchez by four seconds overall and is six in front of Matteo Carrara, who took third place Thursday.

Kloeden is a versatile cyclist, adept at time trials and possesses climbing ability.