TOURS, France -- Italy's Marco Marcato won the Paris-Tours classic in a sprint finish Sunday.
Marcato was beaten to the line by Greg Van Avermaet of Belgium in a head-to-head sprint last year, but this time he held firm and withstood a challenge from Laurens De Vreese of Belgium and Dutch rider Niki Terpstra.
The 146-mile trek from Chateauneuf-en-Thymerais to Tours has favored sprinters in recent years, and this was the case again as the three riders broke away.
German rider John Degenkolb, one of the pre-race favorites, could not match the pace and finished in fourth place, six seconds behind the front three, who all had times of 4 hours, 50 minutes, 34 seconds.
Van Avermaet was sixth, 12 seconds behind.
Copyright 2012 by The Associated Press
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