Britain's Bradley Wiggins retained the lead in the Paris-Nice race as Belgian Gianni Meersman of the Lotto-Belisol team won Wednesday's fourth stage.
Alejandro Valverde, who won the third stage, launched a late attack on Wednesday's final climb.
But Wiggins tucked in behind the wheel of the Spaniard, who lies seventh overall, to quell the attack.
Sky's Wiggins remains six seconds ahead of American Levi Leipheimer with Tejay van Garderen another five seconds back.
Slovenian Grega Bole was second behind Meersman on Wednesday, with Dutchman Lieuwe Westra third in the fourth stage of the event known as the 'Race to the sun'.
Paris-Nice overall standings:
Bradley Wiggins (Great Britain), Sky Procycling - 9 hours, 9 minutes, 41 seconds
Levi Leipheimer (US), Omega Pharma-Quick Step - 6 secs behind
Tejay van Garderen (US), BMC Racing - 11 secs
Sylvain Chavanel (France), Omega Pharma-Quick Step - 14 secs
Maxime Montfort (Belgium), Radioshack-Nissan - 18 secs