Contador wins Tour of Basque

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iol spt apr12 Contador AP Tour de France contender Alejandro Valverde said there were no easy stages on the world's greatest bicycle race. Photo: Fabio Ferrari

Alberto Contador produced a blistering time trial performance and easily held off nearest challenger and Spanish compatriot Alejandro Valverde and wrap up his third victory at the Tour of the Basque Country on Saturday.

Tinkoff-Saxo rider Contador suggested he is getting back to something close to his best with the Tour de France starting in just under three months when he came in second behind German Tony Martin in the sixth and final stage in northern Spain.

Omega Pharma-Quick-Step's Martin, a time trial specialist, completed the 26-kilometre course in 38 minutes and 33 seconds, with Contador a mere seven seconds slower in second and Martin's team mate Michal Kwiatkowski a further eight seconds behind.

Valverde of Movistar Team, who was 12 second behind Contador in second overall overnight, was eighth in the time trial and missed out on a podium place in fifth.

Pole Kwiatkowski was second overall and Jean-Christophe Peraud of Ag2r La Mondiale third.

Contador, a two-time Tour de France winner who was second in last month's Tour of Catalunya, is expected to mount more of a challenge in the 2014 edition of cycling's most prestigious race, which starts in the English city of Leeds is on July 5. – Reuters

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