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Dekker wins in France; Durbridge secures overall at Sarthe

Thomas Dekker (Garmin-Barracuda) scored his first victory since his comeback from a two-year doping ban by taking the flowers in the fifth and final stage at the Circuit de la Sarthe in France.

Dekker won ahead of Nacer Bouhanni (FDJ-BigMat), with Sacha Modolo (Colnago-CSF) crossing the line third.

Luke Durbridge (GreenEdge), winner of the time trial on Wednesday, finished in the main pack to wrap up his first professional stage-race victory.

Dekker joined Garmin-Barracuda after racing with the U23 development team late last season.

The Dutch star was part of Garmin’s winning TTT effort at the Tour of Qatar in January and has been regaining his racing legs with such events as Paris-Nice and Critérium International.

Dekker, 27, served a two-year ban after testing positive for EPO just days ahead of the start of the 2009 Tour de France.

Speaking to VeloNews.com earlier this season, Dekker said he was grateful to get a second chance with Jonathan Vaughters and the Garmin team.

“It’s really good to be back, especially in a team like this. It’s a dream come true, getting back to this level, with a team like Garmin-Barracuda, with Jonathan Vaughters, who was always an example for me,” he said. “In doping, there were no gray areas. It’s the clean team and I am really happy that they gave me a second chance and I am going to try my best to have some good results, work good for the team and see what 2012 brings us.”

Dekker admitted that he made mistakes in his past and vowed to race clean. It took a face-to-face meeting with his future Garmin teammates last November before he signed a contract.

“Before I was not living in reality. I was very young and I was making lots of money. I had no one telling me what to do,” Dekker said. “Now I am realizing more that I made some big mistakes in the past. In the future, I think in six months I can say more about my level or about how I can do in bigger races.”

The victory is his first since 2007 and counts as the eighth win for Garmin-Barracuda on the 2012 season.

Read also: Dekker on comeback: ‘I want to prove I can win clean’

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