Samu Sanchez is coming closer and closer to win his first race of the season. Today he finished an impressive 6th in Paris-Nice`s hilly fifth stage. Samu came in with the leading group 14 seconds behind run-away winner Yaroslav Popovych. Mikel Astarloza and Gorka Verdugo also finished inside this leading group. Markel Irizar was 54th today, 34 seconds behind, Alan Pérez was 62nd, 52 seconds back, while Rúben Pérez and Andoni Aranaga came in with the second part of the peloton, 14:13 behind. The last Euskaltel rider to cross the line, Ivan Velasco, seemed to have hurt himself badly with a nasty crash with some 40 kms remaining. Though, the brave youngster remounted, and came in 147th, 17:40 behind. Ivan escaped with multiple cuts and scrapes on the left shoulder, elbow and hip. Tomorrow wil tell us how he`s doing. The ever-agressive and impressive Rúben Pérez once again formed part of the break of the day, but as the break suddenly broke in two, Rúben found himself in the wrong part. Rúben returned to the peloton, where he stayed for the remainder of the stage. Going into the two last stages, Samu lies 10th overall, 46 seconds behind. Gorka is 34th and Mikel is 38th, something that means Euskaltel lie 10th in the team rankings.