Alberto Contador (Saxo Bank) has seen off Denis Menchov (Geox-TMC) and Frenchman Jerome Coppel (Saur-Sojasun) to win his second stage of the Tour of Murcia in 24 hours and the overall outright.
Contador clocked an impressive time in the final stage, a 12 kilometre time trial through the streets of Murcia, to win the completely flat race against the clock by eight seconds over Coppel and 12 on Menchov.
Overall, the same three riders completed the final podium, with Contador again ahead of Coppel and Menchov.
Best of the rest was none other than Sky’s Alex Dowsett, who took a very promising fourth place in his first full year as a professional, just 19 seconds down on Contador. Dowsett was provisional best right up until the arrival of the last three riders on the overall classification.
Contador’s victory gives the Spaniard a total of three in two days, and is his first stage race win since he returned from his provisional suspension.
In his first race back, the Tour of the Algarve, he finished fourth overall having ridden well in the first uphill finish but failed to shine in the last time trial. This time round, he has managed to maintain his high level of racing right the way through to the end.
Contador’s next race will be the Tour of Catalunya in late March. By then he should know whether the UCI have decided to appeal to CAS about the Spanish Cycling Federation decision to clear him of doping charges, although WADA have until mid-April to reach a decision.
Tour of Murcia 2011, stage three ITT: Murcia to Murcia, 12.4 km
1. Alberto Contador (Spa) Saxo Bank-Sungard in 14-10
2. Jerome Coppel (Fra) Saur-Sojasun at 8 secs
3. Denis Menchov (Rus) Geox-TMC at 12 secs
4. Alex Dowsett (GB) Team Sky at 19 secs
5. Vasili Kiryenka (Blr) Movistar at 26 secs
Final overall classification
1. Alberto Contador (Spa) Saxo Bank-Sungard