Italian Davide Rebellin of Gerolsteiner won the Paris-Nice race after Caisse d'Epargne's Spaniard Luis Leon Sanchez won the seventh and  final stage, a 121.5km final stage around Nice.

Rebellin, who yesterday had made up a 32 second deficit on previous leader Robert Gesink, thus erased the memory of last year's disappointment, when he lost the crown on the final day to Alberto Contador as he held on to his advantage over compatriot Rinaldo Nocentini.

Contador was unable to defend his crown after organisers banned his Astana team from this year's edition as a result of doping scandals over the past two years, a decision that will also prevent the Spaniard from launching a defence of his Tour de France title.

Sanchez's second career stage win in the event saw him win a dash for the line having hit the front over the final 3kms, the peloton unable to haul him in on the picturesque Promenade des Anglais boulevard after negotiating their final obstacle, the 4.8km Eze climb 13km out.

Rebellin, 36, said he was delighted to have added the Paris-Nice to a CV that includes the 2001 Tirreno-Adriatico, a pair of Mediterranean Tours in 1999 and 2001 and two Brixia Tours (2006 and 2007), as well as a slew of one-day races and a Giro stage in 1996.

'I'm delighted. I am very pleased to have landed this title having previously come so close. It was very tough but we managed to ward off attacks and controlled the race well.'

Paris-Nice stage seven result:
1 Luis Leon Sanchez (Spain / Caisse d'Epargne )  2h 51m 12s
2 Maxime Monfort (Belgium / Cofidis )           same time
3 Carlos Barredo (Spain / Quick-Step )
4 Christophe Moreau (France / Agritubel )          +5 secs
5 Alexander Efimkin (Russia / Quick-Step )
6 Matteo Tosatto (Italy / Quick-Step )
7 Simon Spilak (Slovenia / Lampre )
8 Alexandre Botcharov (Russia / Credit Agricole )
9 Peter Velits (Slovakia / Milram )
10 Jose Benitez (Spain / Saunier Duval )

Overall standings
1 D Rebellin (Italy / Gerolsteiner )   29 hrs 02 mins 48 secs
2 R Nocentini (Italy / AG2R )                   +3 secs
3 Y Popovych (Ukraine / Silence - Lotto )     +48"
4 R Gesink (Netherlands / Rabobank )            +51"
5 L Leon Sanchez (Spain / Caisse d'Epargne )    +1:09"
6 JM Garate (Spain / Quick-Step )         +1:12"
7 G Verdugo (Spain / Euskaltel )               +2:17"
8 C Barredo (Spain / Quick-Step )             +2:24"
9 S Chavanel (France / Cofidis )             +2:39"
10 A Efimkin (Russia / Quick-Step )         +3:21"