Alberto Contador topped an all-Spanish podium with victory in the Paris-Nice Race to the Sun today.
The Tour de France champion successfully defended his advantage on a final stage won by Amael Moinard (Cofidis) of France to secure the race leader's yellow jersey.
It was Astana rider Contador's second Paris-Nice win following his 2007 triumph as he finished ahead of Caisse d'Epargne team-mates Alejandro Valverde and Luis-Leon Sanchez, who were second and third, respectively.
Ireland's Nicolas Roche had a superb finish to the event, crossing the line in fourth place just three seconds behind stage winner Moinard.
Roche finished in 11th place overall, one minute and 23 seconds behind winner Contador.
Contador's victory was courtesy of a stage four triumph on Thursday and he was untroubled for the remaining three stages.
‘It's very difficult to win a race when you're the favourite,’ said Contador, who is the likely favourite for July's Tour.
‘When everybody is after you and you win, it's liberating.
‘Today it was short but intense as I had to reply to every attack.
‘It was a great emotion on the podium as it would have been a pity to lose a big race like Paris-Nice on sprint bonuses.’
With the Tour in mind, Contador played down the significance of the Paris-Nice win.
‘The first thing to do is not to get carried away and to analyse things calmly without losing sight of your priorities,’ he added.
‘There are about seven or eight riders who can win the Tour because of their individual or their collective strength. I'm one of them.’
Moinard and Thomas Voeckler (Bbox Bouygues Telecom) broke clear after 81 kilometres of the day's 119km stage and maintained a slender advantage until the finish line where the Cofidis rider pipped his compatriot.