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Page last updated at 16:23 GMT, Sunday, 8 March 2009

Wiggins off to Paris-Nice flyer

Bradley Wiggins
Wiggins won two golds in Beijing last summer

British Olympic gold medallist Bradley Wiggins came second in the opening time trial of the Paris-Nice classic.

Track cycling star Wiggins, riding for Garmin, was beaten by Spain's 2007 Tour de France winner Alberto Contador.

The Astana rider's time of 11 minutes and five seconds in wet conditions was seven seconds ahead of the Briton.

Contador's fellow Spaniard, Luis Leon Sanchez, took third place, nine seconds behind, in the 9.3 kilometre race against the clock in Amilly.

One of only five men to win the Tour de France, Giro d'Italia and Vuelta, Contador won the Paris-Nice title in 2007.

However, he was unable to defend it in 2008 after Astana was barred in the wake of doping scandals.

"If we had lost by one or two seconds we could have said he dropped them in a curve but seven seconds, it has to be physical," said Garmin-Slipstream sports director Lionel Marie.

"When we saw that Sanchez was two seconds behind, we were confident. Contador is simply too strong for us."

Among the race favourites, France's Sylvain Chavanel and Spaniard Antonio Colom of Team Katusha limited the damage when they finished 19 seconds off the pace in seventh and eighth place.

Known as the "Race to the Sun", the Paris-Nice finishes on 15 March, with Monday's second stage taking the pack on a 195.5km route from Saint-Brisson-sur-Loire to La-Chapelle-Saint-Ursin.

see also
Contador opts to miss 2009 Giro
28 Oct 08 |  Cycling

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