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Colom and Sanchez rule as Contador's comeback try fails

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Antonio Colom wins in Nice

Antonio Colom wins in Nice
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Contador congratulated Luis Leon Sanchez before the stage, but the Astana racer tried everything still on the final day.

Contador congratulated Luis Leon Sanchez before the stage, but the Astana racer tried everything still on the final day. (Image credit: AFP Photo)
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Sanchez and Contador are good friends

Sanchez and Contador are good friends (Image credit: AFP Photo)
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The jerseys before the stage with Chavanel in green (points), Martin in polka dot and Seeldraeyers in white (young rider)

The jerseys before the stage with Chavanel in green (points), Martin in polka dot and Seeldraeyers in white (young rider) (Image credit: AFP Photo)
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Sanchez had the work cut out for him on then last day.

Sanchez had the work cut out for him on then last day. (Image credit: AFP Photo)
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Luis Leon Sanchez had a tough final day into Nice.

Luis Leon Sanchez had a tough final day into Nice. (Image credit: AFP Photo)
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The top GC guys had to work hard to bring Contador, who escaped on the first climb of the day.

The top GC guys had to work hard to bring Contador, who escaped on the first climb of the day. (Image credit: AFP Photo)
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Contador shed his last rivals on the col d'Eze, but was caught on the descent.

Contador shed his last rivals on the col d'Eze, but was caught on the descent. (Image credit: AFP Photo)
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Contador checks to see if he can make out his rivals in the distance.

Contador checks to see if he can make out his rivals in the distance. (Image credit: AFP Photo)
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Chavanel had an untimely flat in the end but was able to re-join the group and keep green and podium spot.

Chavanel had an untimely flat in the end but was able to re-join the group and keep green and podium spot. (Image credit: AFP Photo)
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The descent into Nice is nice

The descent into Nice is nice (Image credit: AFP Photo)
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The three escapers who survived before the peloton were Schleck (leading), Contador and Colom.

The three escapers who survived before the peloton were Schleck (leading), Contador and Colom. (Image credit: AFP Photo)
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The sprint between Colom (l) and Contador in Nice.

The sprint between Colom (l) and Contador in Nice. (Image credit: AFP Photo)
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A happy Colom finally wins after in an aggressive mood the last few days.

A happy Colom finally wins after in an aggressive mood the last few days. (Image credit: AFP Photo)
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Sanchez celebrates his overall victory

Sanchez celebrates his overall victory (Image credit: AFP Photo)
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A family dedication with the pacifier on the podium.

A family dedication with the pacifier on the podium. (Image credit: AFP Photo)
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A happy Sanchez thanked his teammates for the hard work.

A happy Sanchez thanked his teammates for the hard work. (Image credit: AFP Photo)
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The final podium with winner Sanchez in the middle. Second placed Schleck is on the right and third-placed Chavanel on the left.

The final podium with winner Sanchez in the middle. Second placed Schleck is on the right and third-placed Chavanel on the left. (Image credit: AFP Photo)
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Tony Martin (Team Columbia - Highroad) sitting around in his King of the Mountains jersey.

Tony Martin (Team Columbia - Highroad) sitting around in his King of the Mountains jersey. (Image credit: Florian & Susanne Schaaf)
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Race leader Luis-Leon Sanchez (Caisse d'Epargne) greets the other jersey holders on the start line.

Race leader Luis-Leon Sanchez (Caisse d'Epargne) greets the other jersey holders on the start line. (Image credit: Florian & Susanne Schaaf)
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The jersey wearers all ready to roll on the final stage.

The jersey wearers all ready to roll on the final stage. (Image credit: Florian & Susanne Schaaf)
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Tony Martin (Team Columbia - Highroad) greets the race director, Christian Prudhomme, at the start.

Tony Martin (Team Columbia - Highroad) greets the race director, Christian Prudhomme, at the start. (Image credit: Florian & Susanne Schaaf)
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Luis-Leon Sanchez talks to a Caisse d'Epargne teammate at the start.

Luis-Leon Sanchez talks to a Caisse d'Epargne teammate at the start. (Image credit: Florian & Susanne Schaaf)
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Race director Christian Prudhomme announces the race's departure.

Race director Christian Prudhomme announces the race's departure. (Image credit: Florian & Susanne Schaaf)
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The peloton rolls out from the start on the final stage.

The peloton rolls out from the start on the final stage. (Image credit: Florian & Susanne Schaaf)
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Riders roll out of Nice for the 119 kilometre stage.

Riders roll out of Nice for the 119 kilometre stage. (Image credit: Florian & Susanne Schaaf)
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Alberto Contador (Astana), Antonio Colom (Team Katusha), and Fränk Schleck (Saxo Bank) were the only riders to stay away.

Alberto Contador (Astana), Antonio Colom (Team Katusha), and Fränk Schleck (Saxo Bank) were the only riders to stay away. (Image credit: Florian & Susanne Schaaf)
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Alberto Contador (Astana) throws his bike but Antonio Colom (Team Katusha) claimed the stage win.

Alberto Contador (Astana) throws his bike but Antonio Colom (Team Katusha) claimed the stage win. (Image credit: Florian & Susanne Schaaf)
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Antonio Colom (Team Katusha) celebrates his stage win in Nice.

Antonio Colom (Team Katusha) celebrates his stage win in Nice. (Image credit: Florian & Susanne Schaaf)
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Leon-Luis Sanchez sprints in the bunch but the result doesn't matter much. The important thing is he's retained the leader's jersey and won the race.

Leon-Luis Sanchez sprints in the bunch but the result doesn't matter much. The important thing is he's retained the leader's jersey and won the race. (Image credit: Florian & Susanne Schaaf)
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Katusha, it's Russian for 'I beat you' is something along the lines of what Antonio Colom was saying on the podium.

Katusha, it's Russian for 'I beat you' is something along the lines of what Antonio Colom was saying on the podium. (Image credit: Florian & Susanne Schaaf)
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There was no dummy spitting by Antonio Colom (Katusha) who won the final stage in Nice.

There was no dummy spitting by Antonio Colom (Katusha) who won the final stage in Nice. (Image credit: Florian & Susanne Schaaf)
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Antonio Colom (Katusha) got a nice gold trophy in Nice.

Antonio Colom (Katusha) got a nice gold trophy in Nice. (Image credit: Florian & Susanne Schaaf)
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Caisse d'Epargne's Leon-Luis Sanchez gets his final yellow jersey in Nice.

Caisse d'Epargne's Leon-Luis Sanchez gets his final yellow jersey in Nice. (Image credit: Florian & Susanne Schaaf)
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Leon-Luis Sanchez (Caisse d'Epargne) holds up the tiger - we're guessing ASO gets a good bulk deal on these from the manufacturer.

Leon-Luis Sanchez (Caisse d'Epargne) holds up the tiger - we're guessing ASO gets a good bulk deal on these from the manufacturer. (Image credit: Florian & Susanne Schaaf)
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Caisse d'Epargne's Leon-Luis Sanchez celebrates his overall win in Nice.

Caisse d'Epargne's Leon-Luis Sanchez celebrates his overall win in Nice. (Image credit: Florian & Susanne Schaaf)
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Sylvain Chavanel (Quick Step) claimed the points classification over Alberto Contador (Astana).

Sylvain Chavanel (Quick Step) claimed the points classification over Alberto Contador (Astana). (Image credit: Florian & Susanne Schaaf)
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Kevin Seeldrayers (Quick Step) took the best young rider's jersey.

Kevin Seeldrayers (Quick Step) took the best young rider's jersey. (Image credit: Florian & Susanne Schaaf)
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Overall podium (L-R): Sylvain Chavanel (Quick Step), Luis-Leon Sanchez (Caisse d'Epargne) and Fränk Schleck (Team Saxo Bank).

Overall podium (L-R): Sylvain Chavanel (Quick Step), Luis-Leon Sanchez (Caisse d'Epargne) and Fränk Schleck (Team Saxo Bank). (Image credit: Florian & Susanne Schaaf)
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Overall podium (L-R): Sylvain Chavanel (Quick Step), Luis-Leon Sanchez (Caisse d'Epargne) and Fränk Schleck (Team Saxo Bank).

Overall podium (L-R): Sylvain Chavanel (Quick Step), Luis-Leon Sanchez (Caisse d'Epargne) and Fränk Schleck (Team Saxo Bank). (Image credit: Florian & Susanne Schaaf)
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Tony Martin (Team Columbia - Highroad) took the King of the Mountains jersey.

Tony Martin (Team Columbia - Highroad) took the King of the Mountains jersey. (Image credit: Florian & Susanne Schaaf)
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The final jersey winners from the 2009 Paris-Nice: Kevin Seeldrayers, Leon-Luis Sanchez, Sylvain Chavanel and Tony Martin.

The final jersey winners from the 2009 Paris-Nice: Kevin Seeldrayers, Leon-Luis Sanchez, Sylvain Chavanel and Tony Martin. (Image credit: Florian & Susanne Schaaf)
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Team Saxo Bank claimed the teams classification.

Team Saxo Bank claimed the teams classification. (Image credit: Florian & Susanne Schaaf)

Alberto Contador of Team Astana put forth his best effort to take back what he lost earlier, but in the end the day belonged to two other Spaniards. Antonio Colom of Katusha outsprinted Contador for the stage win and Luis Leon Sanchez came in 17 seconds later to cement his overall win.

"I owe this victory to my teammates, who helped me a lot," Sanchez said. "I always remained calm and collected. I had a great morale throughout and this win is also theirs."

He continued, "Everybody's main objective in cycling, whether you're a rider or a sponsor, is the Tour. In the team, we have riders who can win it. Today, I'm the Paris-Nice winner, but in July, I'll become a teammate again, trying to help Oscar [Pereiro] or Alejandro [Valverde] win the Tour."

The 25-year-old praised his friend and rival, Contador, calling him "a great rider, but his goal is also the Tour more than Paris-Nice. I'm glad this was my turn and today's my day."

A group of 25 riders got away at the 25km mark and built up a lead of 1:25, but were only able to stay in the lead for about 50 km.

Contador seemed determined to make up for his errors of the day before and broke out of the peloton early. With about 42 km to go, he jumped on the first climb of the day and took off in search of redemption. He was joined by Aitor Hernandez (Euskalel), David Lopez Garcia (Caisse d'Epargne), Sandy Casar (Française des Jeux) and Reine Taaramae (Cofidis).

Caisse d'Epargne and Saxo Bank led the chase, never letting the former yellow jersey wearer get too far ahead. His lead over the rapidly-diminishing peloton never broke the two-minute mark.

On the second climb, the lead group was down to Contador, Casar and Lopez Garcia, with the latter holding himself out of the lead work.

Their lead was down to about 20 seconds on the descent, when Contador took off again. He dropped first Casar and then Lopez Garcia as he started up the third and final climb.

With less than 20 km to go, the attacks out of the rapidly-shrinking field began. None was successful until Colom and Schleck took off with about 14 km to go. They caught Contador by km 10, and despite his best efforts to drop them, they stayed with him until the end.

In the closing sprint, Contador took off first, leaving Schleck behind, while Colom came up to take the win by a whisker.

Jerseys

There were no changes in the special jerseys. Chavanel took the points jersey, and Tony Martin of Columbia-Highroad held on to the climber's polka-dot jersey. Kevin Seeldrayers of Quick Step won the best young rider competition, and Saxo Bank the team ranking.

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