Sanchez takes stage, Wiggins retains lead

Fri, 09 Mar 15:18:00 2012

Luis Leon Sanchez won stage six of the Paris-Nice race after a sprint duel with veteran Jens Voigt, with Englishman Bradley Wiggins retaining the overall lead.

CYCLING Luis Leon Sanchez in action at the Paris-Nice race in March 2012 - 0

After a 178.5-km ride between Suze-la-Rousse and Sisteron, Rabobank's 28-year-old Spaniard beat the 40-year-old German after the pair escaped from the pack in the latter stages, leading by a minute with about 10km to go.

Australia's Heinrich Haussler was third, at the head of the peloton as it crossed the line 14 seconds behind.

It was break-specialist Sanchez's first win of the season and his fourth career stage victory at Paris-Nice, a race he won in 2009.

There was no change to the major general classification places, with Team Sky rider Wiggins retaining his lead by six seconds from Lieuwe Westra.

Levi Leipheimer is 10s off the overall lead in third.

Paris - Nice stage 6

"It was a hard day," Sanchez said. "It started very fast when a group of strong riders led the way.

"The peloton rode at a fast pace but I really wanted this stage badly. I thought about it from the start. I kept trying and thinking about my brother (who died in a motorcycle accident in 2006) and I made it.

"I would love to see Alejandro (Valverde) win the race because he’s a friend and we train together often. But it’s complicated for him and Wiggins is very strong."

Early in the race a group of 28 riders - including Wiggins - made the first break in tough, swirling winds.

Next up a seven-man group of Voigt, Sanchez, Frederik Veuchelen, Simon Geschke, Mickael Cherel, Anthony Geslin and Daniel Navarro stretched clear.

That allowed Voigt to attack in his aggressive fashion, with Sanchez keeping pace as the rest faded before the Spaniard made his late move.

Wiggins, meanwhile, had managed to close the gap on the second group, finishing comfortably in the peloton 14s off the winning time.


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