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Sanchez holds on to seal Paris-Nice victory

  • Story Highlights
  • Caisse d'Epargne rider Luis Leon Sanchez completes his victory in Paris-Nice
  • Spaniard Sanchez finishes one minute ahead of Luxembourg's Frank Schleck
  • Eighth and final stage into central Nice is won by Katusha rider Antonio Colom
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(CNN) -- Caisse d'Epargne rider Luis Leon Sanchez repelled a host of challenges to win Paris-Nice after a thrilling 119km eighth and final stage of the race, ending on the famous Promenade des Anglais on the French Riviera.

Sanchez celebrates the biggest win of his career by securing victory in Paris-Nice on Sunday.

Sanchez celebrates the biggest win of his career by securing victory in Paris-Nice on Sunday.

Spaniard Sanchez came home exactly one minute ahead of Luxembourg's Frank Schleck in the overall standings, with Sylvain Chavanal of France a further nine seconds behind in third position.

The stage, which saw the peloton go over three category one climbs, was won by Katusha's Spanish rider Antonio Colom, who just pipped compatriot Alberto Contador on the line with Schleck only one second behind the duo.

Contador, the reigning Giro d'Italia and Vuelta d'Espana champion and 2007 Tour de France winner, appeared to have the race under control when taking over the leader's yellow jersey after winning Friday's sixth stage.

However, the Astana rider dramatically lost three minutes in the final 4km of Saturday's final climb, subsequently blaming a lack of food and drink for his poor ride.

In a bid to recoup some time, Contador attacked at 41km and led until the descent from the col d'Eze, under 10km from the finish.

Colom and Schleck caught Contador on the sweep into central Nice and the former proved the strongest in the sprint to the line.

Sanchez finished the stage among a group of 14 riders, 17 seconds behind Colom, to record the biggest victory of his career.

The 25-year-old had finished third and fifth in the previous two editions of Paris-Nice -- and won the 2005 Tour Down Under in Australia -- but is perhaps most famous for winning the stage into Aurillac in last year's Tour de France.

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