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Marcus Zberg (Gerolsteiner)
The final stage round Nice in the 'race to the sun' produced a very close finish, with five riders...
The final stage round Nice in the 'race to the sun' produced a very close finish, with five riders managing to stay clear of the clutches of the peloton on the Promenade des Anglais. A very gutsy performance saw Swiss rider Marcus Zberg take the victory ahead of Evgeni Petrov (Lampre-Fondital) and Alberto Contador (Liberty Seguros), with Antonio Colom and Joaquin Rodriguez (Caisse d'Epargne-Illes Balears) rounding out the top five. Floyd Landis (Phonak) and his team rode a great stage to keep him in yellow and give him his second stage race win of the season.
Zberg's result was hard earned, as he was repeatedly dropped by Contador and Rodriguez on the last climb, the col d'Eze. But he came back when Petrov and Colom bridged up from the peloton, and was able to use his superior sprint to win his first race since 2001. "The Spanish riders knew what they were doing, attacking all the time," Zberg told Cyclingnews at the finish line. I just kept my rhythm and hoped that somebody would come up from behind - so I was lucky, too. I have been unlucky for so long and now luck came back to me!"
Third placed Alberto Contador added, "On the last climb, Rodriguez was very strong, too, and we played poker for the stage victory: trying to scare each other and drop one another. But when Rodriguez' teammate Antonio Colom came back on us in the descent, my legs were hurting and the race was pretty fast. Of course, I took my chances and tried, but as I'm not at a 100 percent of my form yet...But I'm still happy, this race has been a good test."