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Last Updated: Sunday, 27 May 2007, 12:52 GMT 13:52 UK
Karpets secures Catalunya victory
Vladimir Karpets
Karpets celebrates his win in Barcelona
Caisse d'Epargne rider Vladimir Karpets has completed victory in the Tour of Catalunya.

The 26-year-old Russian went into the day 40 seconds ahead of the field and managed to finish with the same time as third-placed Denis Menchov.

The final stage, from Lloret de Mar to Barcelona, was won by Spain's Samuel Sanchez, while Alexandre Vinokourov of Kazakhstan was second.

Australia's Michael Rogers was second overall and Menchov third.

"This is one of the most important victories of my career and I've shown I'm ready for [the Tour de France in] July," said Karpets.

Karpets added that team-mate and Tour favourite Oscar Pereiro of Spain were getting "better and better".

"We'll be the team to beat in France," he said. "It was a tough finale, a 4km climb, but I just managed to stay close to Menchov.

"The hardest day, though, was to Andorra on Thursday, when I had no team-mates with me for the last 25km.

"I thought we'd lost the race then, but luckily I could pull back time again in the mountain time-trial the next day."

Karpets, who was sixth on the final stage, finished 40 seconds ahead of Michael Rogers of Australia.

Italian Davide Rebellin of Italy leads overall in the ProTour series.


Tour of Catalunya seventh stage results:
1. Samuel Sanchez (Spain / Euskaltel ) 2:46:06"
2. Alexandre Vinokourov (Kazakhstan / Astana ) +5"
3. Denis Menchov (Russia / Rabobank ) +9"
4. John Gadret (France / AG2R )
5. David De la Fuente (Spain / Saunier Duval )
6. Vladimir Karpets (Russia / Caisse d'Epargne )
7. Michael Rogers (Australia / T-Mobile )
8. Matteo Carrara (Italy / Unibet.com )
9. Christophe Moreau (France / AG2R )
10. Oscar Sevilla (Spain / Relax )
11. Thomas Loevkvist (Sweden / Francaise des Jeux )
12. Nicki Sorensen (Denmark / Team CSC ) +15"

Final standings:
1. Vladimir Karpets (Russia / Caisse d'Epargne ) 22:21:05"
2. Michael Rogers (Australia / T-Mobile ) +40"
3. Denis Menchov (Russia / Rabobank ) +40"
4. Christophe Moreau (France / AG2R ) +1:34"
5. Oscar Sevilla (Spain / Relax ) +1:34"
6. Francisco Mancebo (Spain / Relax ) +1:59"
7. John Gadret (France / AG2R ) +2:19"
8. Marcos Serrano (Spain / Karpin ) +2:39"
9. Laurens ten Dam (Netherlands / Unibet.com ) +2:44"
10. Janez Brajkovic (Slovenia / Discovery Channel ) +2:47"



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