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Stage 7 - May 22: Pallejà-Barcelona (Sants), 113,1 km

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Thor Hushovd (Credit Agricole)

Thor Hushovd (Credit Agricole) (Image credit: AFP)
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Yaroslav Popovych (Discovery Channel)

Yaroslav Popovych (Discovery Channel) (Image credit: AFP)
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Jan Ullrich (T-Mobile)

Jan Ullrich (T-Mobile) (Image credit: AFP)
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Jan Ullrich (T-Mobile) signs an autograph before the start in Pallejà.

Jan Ullrich (T-Mobile) signs an autograph before the start in Pallejà. (Image credit: AFP Photo)
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The peloton en route to the race's final destination in Barcelona.

The peloton en route to the race's final destination in Barcelona. (Image credit: AFP Photo)
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Jan Ullrich (T-Mobile) rides safely in the bunch.

Jan Ullrich (T-Mobile) rides safely in the bunch. (Image credit: AFP Photo)
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Eventual winner Thor Hushovd (Credit Agricole) is coming back to form after a solid Spring Classics campaign.

Eventual winner Thor Hushovd (Credit Agricole) is coming back to form after a solid Spring Classics campaign. (Image credit: AFP Photo)
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Thor Hushovd (Credit Agricole) wins the final stage ahead of American Fred Rodriguez (Davitamon-Lotto) and Miguel A.M. Perdiguero (Phonak).

Thor Hushovd (Credit Agricole) wins the final stage ahead of American Fred Rodriguez (Davitamon-Lotto) and Miguel A.M. Perdiguero (Phonak). (Image credit: AFP Photo)
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Oooh, my very own lizard... cool!

Oooh, my very own lizard... cool! (Image credit: AFP Photo)
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Thor Hushovd (Credit Agricole) holds his lizard up high.

Thor Hushovd (Credit Agricole) holds his lizard up high. (Image credit: AFP Photo)
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Thor Hushovd (Credit Agricole) lets loose with the champagne, careful not to wet his newly-acquired amphibian friend.

Thor Hushovd (Credit Agricole) lets loose with the champagne, careful not to wet his newly-acquired amphibian friend. (Image credit: AFP Photo)
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The final podium - (L to R) Leonardo Piepoli (Saunier Duval-Prodir, 2nd), Yaroslav Popovych (Discovery Channel, 1st) and David Moncoutie (Cofidis, 3rd).

The final podium - (L to R) Leonardo Piepoli (Saunier Duval-Prodir, 2nd), Yaroslav Popovych (Discovery Channel, 1st) and David Moncoutie (Cofidis, 3rd). (Image credit: AFP Photo)
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Yaroslav Popovych (Discovery Channel) holds up a rather sizeable winner's trophy.

Yaroslav Popovych (Discovery Channel) holds up a rather sizeable winner's trophy. (Image credit: AFP Photo)
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Yaroslav Popovych (Discovery Channel) gets the spray thing happening.

Yaroslav Popovych (Discovery Channel) gets the spray thing happening. (Image credit: AFP Photo)

85th Volta a Catalunya - PT

Spain, May 16-22, 2005

Overall standings Previous Stage

Stage 7 - May 22: Pallejà-Barcelona (Sants), 113,1 km

Popo wins Catalunya

Hushovd leads home the procession

With the predicted bunch sprint in Barcelona (Sants) early this afternoon, won by powerful Norweigan champion Thor Hushovd (Credit Agricole), Ukrainian Yaroslav Popovych (Discovery Channel) wrapped up overall honours in the 85th edition of the Volta a Catalunya.

It was the enormously talented 25 year-old's first victory of 2005, and will no doubt provide team manager Johan Bruyneel renewed confidence in Lance Armstrong's bid for a seventh Tour de France title come July. With Tour stalwart Viatcheslav Ekimov the victim of a training crash a number of weeks ago, the Discovery Team lost one of its key members; however, one of the team's strengths is their depth of talent, and Popovych's victory was a case in point.

Brilliant riding by Leonardo Piepoli (Saunier Duval-Prodir), who won the fourth stage and placed second behind team-mate Iñigo Cuesta in the following day's uphill time trial, saw the 33 year-old Italian finish just 20 seconds off the place to claim second overall.

Frenchman David Moncoutie (Cofidis) also finished less than a minute behind, with Michael Rogers (Quick.Step) fourth and Aitor Osa (Illes Balears) fifth. Miguel A.M. Perdiguero (Phonak), who held the race lead for the first three days, ended up seventh. Other notable final placegetters were: Jan Ullrich (T-Mobile Team), who finished 18th overall, on the same time as Davide Rebellin (Gerolsteiner); and Euskaltel-Euskadi's Iban Mayo, who recently declared the Tour de France his one and only objective for the year [see previous news story].

The seventh and final stage from Pallejà to Barcelona was punctuated by three Cat. 3 climbs including another uncategorised ascent the start. However, they did little to split the field, with the 113 kilometre parcours more of a procession of sorts, and a sprint finish was always more than likely.

In the end, it was 27 year-old Credit Agricole rider Thor Hushovd who took line honours, who is on his way back to top form after a solid Spring Classics campaign that included top 10 placings in Milano-San Remo, Gent-Wevelgem, and Paris-Roubaix. Second was American Fred Rodriguez (Davitamon-Lotto), with early race leader Perdiguero (Phonak) rounding out the podium for the day.

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