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Bradley Wiggins finishes third in Paris-Nice race

Kloden,  Martin and Wiggins on the podium
Martin (centre) won overall from Kloden and Wiggins

Bradley Wiggins finished his first major European stage race this year with a podium place in the Paris-Nice.

French champion Thomas Voeckler won the final stage into Nice. German Tony Martin won overall, with Andreas Kloden second and Wiggins 41 seconds back.

Martin took the lead in the eight-stage race on Friday, when he beat Wiggins by 20 seconds in an individual time trial.

"Team Sky have been fantastic all week and today especially. A big thank you to the guys," Wiggins said on Twitter.

As Voeckler attacked for his second stage win of the race in cold and wet conditions, Martin and his HTC team controlled an attack by Olympic champion Samuel Sanchez of Spain.

We've come away with a stage win, a podium finish, and that's a big improvement in comparison to where we were at last season

Sean Yates
Team Sky sports director

After that battle on the Col d'Eze, Wiggins finished in a group with Martin 22 seconds down on Voeckler.

Wiggins, 30, will have his sights set on an improved performance in this year's Tour de France, which starts on 2 July, after coming fourth in 2009 but disappointing on his Team Sky debut last year.

The result capped an impressive week for Team Sky, who were celebrating as early as stage two when Kiwi Greg Henderson won in a sprint finish.

"It's been a fantastic eight days - we've come away with a stage win, a podium finish, and that's a big improvement in comparison to where we were at last season," said team sports director Sean Yates.

"Hopefully now, we can continue go in the right direction.

"As for Bradley, he isn't solely concentrating on the Tour de France this year, and races like this are the ones which he performs best at."

Bradley Wiggins

BBC Sport spends day at the track with Wiggins

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see also
HTC's Martin too fast for Wiggins
11 Mar 11 |  Cycling
Olympic time trial route revealed
09 Mar 11 |  Cycling
British pursuit team ride to gold
20 Feb 11 |  Cycling
GB welcome back Wiggins
19 Feb 11 |  Cycling

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