(CNN) -- Caisse d'Epargne rider Luis Leon Sanchez is the new leader of Paris-Nice after winning the seventh and penultimate stage of the race, while previous yellow jersey wearer Alberto Contador suffered on the final climb to the finish, losing nearly three minutes in the last four kilometers.
Sanchez celebrates Saturday's stage win, taking the race leader's yellow jersey in the process.
Sanchez finished the mountainous 191km stage from Manosque to Fayence 50 seconds ahead of fellow-Spaniard Antonio Colom, Luxembourg's Frank Schleck and Frenchman Sylvain Chavanel -- who led the race earlier in the week.
Saturday's stage saw 10 riders break clear after 60km, with the group establishing a lead of three-and-a-half minutes at one point.
By the time the race reached the 30km banner, only Martin Velits remained -- and it was here that the Spanish trio of Contador, Colom and Sanchez came to the head of the race, powering past the Slovakian leader in the process.
Sanchez made his winning move with 15km to go and steadily increased his lead as reigning Giro d'Italia and Vuelta d'Espana champion Contador dramatically fell away.
The 25-year-old Sanchez now leads Chavanel by one minute, nine seconds in the overall standings, with Contador third at 1:50 behind.
Sunday's final leg is also mountainous, with the peloton having to negotiate three category one climbs in the 119km stage -- with the race finishing on the famous Promenade des Anglais in Nice.