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Cancellara bags Italian race

Latest update : 2008-03-19

Switzerland's Fabian Cancellara celebrated his 27th birthday with victory in the week-long "Tirreno-Adriatico", as the cycling world turns its attention to Saturday's Italian classic, the "Milano- Sanremo".

Swiss Fabian Cancellara celebrated his 27th birthday with victory in the Tirreno-Adriatico on Tuesday.

The CSC rider finished 28th on the seventh and last stage won by Italy's Francesco Chicchi but ended the week-long race 16 seconds ahead of Italian Enrico Gasparotto (Barloworld). Swede Thomas Lovkvist (High Road) was third at 40 seconds.

The final 176-km stage around the holiday resort of San Benedetto del Tronto was affected by rain and Cancellara stayed out of trouble by riding in the front group.

The victory was his 41st in eight years as a professional. He also won the Paris-Roubaix in 2006 and the world time trial title in 2006 and 2007.

"I'm going to celebrate this victory and my 27th birthday with my team mates because they did a lot of work for me during the race," Cancellara told reporters.

"Before the start I didn't consider myself a contender but I was able to win because of the hard work and training I've done in the last few months.

"I won the time trial stage on Sunday and then hung on to the lead on the climbs."

Cancellara's victory will make him one of the favourites for Saturday's Milan-San Remo race but he refused to discuss his tactics for the first prestigious 'classic' of the season.

"We've got on idea of our tactics at CSC but we're not going to tell anyone," he said. "We've got a strong team and Frank Schleck could also win so we've got several cards we could play.

"Everybody will be watching me but I don't feel under pressure. I'm going to stay in Milan in the next few days and stay focused on the race."

Date created : 2008-03-18