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Who's a good little time triallist? Luis Leon Sanchez (Caisse d'Epargne) pinches the cheek of Alberto Contador (Astana) on the podium
Defending champion retains perspective on losing title
Third on the final podium at this year's Paris-Nice, 2009 champion Luis Leon Sanchez says he isn't disappointed that he couldn't produce a successful defence of his title.
The 26-year-old made it two podium places for Caisse d'Epargne and an all-Spanish top three, with compatriot and countryman Alejandro Valverde taking second while Alberto Contador added another Paris-Nice title to the one he took in 2007.
"I was feeling good during the whole race and I would have like to do as well as last year but even if my level was a very good one Alberto Contador was stronger than everybody else and it was really difficult to beat him," said Sanchez after the stage seven finish.
"I have no regrets because I gave it all every day, just the same as all my team-mates which I want to thank for all the efforts they achieved all through the week."
A stage winner at last year's Tour de France, Sanchez will form part of a two-pronged attack on this year's grand tours with Valverde, who has a Vuelta a España title to his name.
Despite ceding his Paris-Nice crown to Contador, Sanchez was pleased with taking the final podium spot, even if he left it late to secure that lowest step on the dais, as it meant Caisse d'Epargne finished the event clearly the best team.
"Today I sprinted to catch the time bonuses because I knew it was sufficient to climb on the podium together Contador and Valverde. Caisse d’Epargne deserved it," he said.