NICE, France (AP) — Luis-Leon Sanchez won the Paris-Nice race on Sunday, overcoming two punctures and a late challenge by Alberto Contador in a final stage won by Antonio Colom.
Frank Schleck of Luxembourg finished second in the final standings, trailing Sanchez by 1 minute. Sylvain Chavanel of France was third overall, 1:09 back, and Contador placed fourth, 1:24 behind Sanchez.
Colom beat Contador, a fellow Spaniard, and Schleck in a sprint on the famed Promenade des Anglais to take the last stage, completing the 73.9-mile trek in and around Nice in 2 hours, 47 minutes and 49 seconds.
Chavanel broke his chain 7.8 miles from the finish, allowing Schleck to move ahead in the final standings.
Sanchez won the Tour of the Mediterranean last month and finished third overall in the 2007 Paris-Nice race.
"I'm glad this was my turn and today's my day," Sanchez told the event's Web site. "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."
In a stage featuring three category 1 climbs, Contador went on the attack at the 26.1-mile mark, joining a small group chasing Reine Taaramae of Estonia.
Two years ago, Contador won the weeklong event on the last day and was bidding for a repeat.
The Spaniard was in position to win the stage and overall title after the first climb of the day, taking a lead of 2:05 after Sanchez had two punctures on the Col de la Porte.
But the pack, spurred by Schleck's Saxo Bank team, cut Contador's lead to about 30 seconds in the descent.
Schleck and Colom caught Contador in the descent of Col d'Eze, 6.2 miles from the finish.
David Millar of Britain retired after crashing
Saturday Feb 21st
Estero was the scene of an extra terrestrial mystery early Saturday with the disappearance of the Estero Flatlanders cycling team.
The morning’s ride had been scheduled as usual but an eerie absence of riders indicated that something strange and uncommon had occurred, with potentially devastating ramifications.
A couple of late arrivals commented on seeing bright, fluorescent lights in the sky as they turned into the Bad Ass parking lot, accompanied by a piercing whooshing sound which lasted for no more than a couple of seconds.
“it was as if I was experiencing a giant vortex right in front of my eyes.” Commented one of the FGCU riders, who had come to visit the famous Flatlanders team.
“I think I saw some bikes and people standing around, but suddenly – Nothing! They just evaporated in front of me. It was crazy!”
With tension mounting, experts were brought in later in the day to analyze the situation as concerns grew rapidly on the whereabouts of the missing Flatlanders.
Chad Hallock, a NASA scientist, highly experienced in matters of alien sightings, indicated that abductions of this type, although highly unusual, were nonetheless prone to happen at certain times of year and during specific weather conditions.
“Aliens favor clear skies and temperatures below 43 degrees, for human extraction” Chad remarked, “and today’s conditions were perfect for such an event. The cold air and gentle winds made this an ideal situation”.
Although the few riders that arrived late completed the scheduled ride, the mood was somber as they wondered what had happened to their team mates, thinking the worst and worrying if they would ever be see them again.
However, Fact is often stranger than fiction and the Sunday morning was awash with the missing cyclists.
When questioned, none of them seemed to be suffering from any ill effects whatsoever. It was as though the event had never happened.
“All I can remember was my alarm going off and rolling over to go back to sleep”, Ciro offered as some form of explanation. “ It looked very cold outside and my bed felt nice and warm”.
Nobody appeared any worse for wear from their ordeal which, from their part, seems to have been completely obliterated from their memory.
Who knows what went on during those missing hours and what experiments, if any, the aliens conducted on the unsuspecting riders?
With temperatures now rising into the 50’s and 60’s, experts feel that any re-visit from the out of space visitors is highly unlikely – at least for the rest of this year.
But what will happen in 2010? Only time will tell
Estero News Press
Levi Leipheimer (AST) wins the Amgen Tour of California for third straight year. David Zabriskie (GRM) finishes 2nd and Michael Rogers (THR) completes the podium in 3rd place.
Two Million Fans Turned Out to Watch the Best Field Ever Assembled on U.S. Soil Cycle Across California
ESCONDIDO (February 22, 2009) – After nine challenging and epic days of cycling through more than 750-miles of scenic California roads, and a thrilling fight to the finish, Levi Leipheimer (USA) of Astana was crowned champion of the 2009 Amgen Tour of California, solidifying a three-peat for the California resident. With a week-long total time of 31 hours, 28 minutes and 21 seconds, Leipheimer accepted the highly coveted title of race champion in front of massive cheering crowds in Escondido, which brought the race total to 2 million fans along the race route from Sacramento to Escondido. In a nine-day battle against the best field ever assembled to compete in the United States, which included Tour de France winners, Olympic medalists and World Champions, Frank Schleck (LUX) of Saxo Bank claimed the Stage 8 win.
“I’ve been trying to think about how to articulate this and it’s tough,” said Leipheimer. “To win it once, that was huge. To win it twice, that was almost a little bit of a surprise and almost felt like luck. But now, to have won the Amgen Tour of California three times, it’s the sweetest victory of all. I think we proved that we were the best team in the race. There is no question about that.”
David Zabriskie (USA) of Garmin-Slipstream finished in second place overall at 36 seconds behind Leipheimer, and Michael Rogers (AUS) of Team Columbia-Highroad finished third at 45 seconds behind.
' Masher' Todd Milby completed his first ever marathon run last week.
Hard to fathom that jus over two years ago, Todd was over 300lbs and in poor health.
Realising this, Todd decided to radically change his lifestyle, eating habits and exercise regime.
Through sheer determination, expert health and strong faith, Todd worked on getting his weight down.
In 2007, Todd discovered the Flatlanders and continued his program, incorporating cycling into his plan.
Todd was soon nicknamed 'Masher' by the team for his ability to crunch the big gears at high cadence and speed with his bone crushing calf muscles.
Todd is now just over 200lbs, fit and healthy and, boy can he run!!!!!!!!!
"That marathon went great. I did very well for my first one and for an ex-fat kid.
Now that it is behind me I'm going to try to start riding at least twice a week. Hope to see you all soon