Australian Cadel Evans, riding for the Silence-Lotto team, won the fourth stage of Paris-Nice on Thursday on Mont Serein ahead of Dutch rider Robert Gesink.
Gesink, 21, of Rabobank took the overall leader's yellow jersey after the 176km stage which finished three quarters up the way of the famous Mont Ventoux climb. The duo finished some 30sec ahead of Italian pair Rinaldo Nocentini and Davide Rebellin.
Overnight leader Sylvain Chavanel of France lost steam in the final climb, falling three minutes behind.
Four riders Aleksandr Kuschynski, Jens Voigt, Bernhard Eisel and Niki Terpstra lead a long breakaway from the 11km mark to take a three-minute lead into the final climb.
German Voigt make a solo break at the foot of the 14.9km climb with a gradient of 7.3 percent but was caught with 4km to go.
Tour de France runner-up Evans, 31, stuck at Gesink's heels, overtaking him at the line situated at 1,400m altitude, some 5km from the Ventoux summit.
Gesink made a name for himself last year by finishing ninth in the Fleche Wallonne and his team signed him until the end of the 2012 season. He leads Rebellin by 32sec and Nocentini by 35sec in the overall standings.
For full results, report and photos, see Cyclingnews.com.
© AFP & BikeRadar 2008