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Contador basks in Basque race win

TOP stage-race specialist Alberto Contador won the Tour of the Basque Country for the second year in a row on Saturday.

The Astana rider swept away the opposition in the 24-kilometer time trial in Zalla, Spain, to claim a second stage win in this year's race and secure overall victory.

Second overall on an all-Spanish podium was Antonio Colom, 30 seconds back, with Samuel Sanchez 53 seconds down in third.

Saturday's hilly sixth-stage time trial mirrored the overall podium results, with Colom 22 seconds behind Contador and Sanchez 45.

Cadel Evans and Luis Leon Sanchez rounded out the top five.

Contador, winner of the Tour de France in 2007 and the Giro d'Italia and Spanish Vuelta last year, told reporters he had not been sure whether he could win the Basque race a second time.

"I had a very tough day on Friday's stage, but then today (Saturday) this time trial worked out perfectly," he said.

"I had no time references on the first part of the course, but I had a feeling it was going well. I am surprised and pleased, though, that I've had such a good start to the season," said Contador.

The Spaniard's main objective is to win the Tour de France for a second time, but Contador said this win did not make him a bigger favorite for cycling's top race. "The Tour's in July, a lot can happen between now and then."


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