Reuters - Sun, 14 Mar 17:12:00 2010
One year after cracking in the penultimate stage, Alberto Contador showed how much he has matured by mastering a treacherous finale in the Paris-Nice race.
As Caisse d'Epargne riders Alejandro Valverde and Luis Leon Sanchez, second and third overall, plotted to trap him, Contador avoided any mistakes and was rewarded with a second overall win.
The cool performance was in stark contrast to last year's race, when the Spaniard went to pieces with a stage to go, prompting his then Astana team mate Lance Armstrong to say on Twitter: "Amazing talent but still a lot to learn."
"I am more mature," Contador, who also won the race in 2007, said after sealing his win on Sunday. "I have learnt from my mistakes.
"I was faced with a lot of tough calls to make in this year's race and I made the good decisions. It paid off."
The twice Tour de France champion was quickly isolated by rivals as his Astana team mates failed to follow the pace in a demanding 119-km ride around Nice but this time the 27-year-old kept his cool.
"The gaps are very small, there is lot of tension on this race, that is tough to control," Contador said. "It is like a mini Tour de France, with a lot of crazy stages."
Despite a tough week in which he crashed and was trapped in a split, the 'Pistolero' proved he was the strongest in the field.