David de la Cruz wins final stage while Sergio Henao narrowly escapes late Alberto Contador rally to hold on to Paris-Nice win on Sunday.

NICE, France (AFP) – Colombia’s Sergio Henao lifted his troubled Sky team’s spirits with a two-second success over Alberto Contador in the Paris-Nice on Sunday.

Henao set up the win when grabbing a half-minute lead in the ‘Race to the Sun’ with fourth in Saturday’s penultimate stage.

But Henao, following up Team Sky’s win with Geraint Thomas last year, only scraped home in the face of a determined challenge from Contador.

The Spaniard, placed third at 31sec at the start of the day, took second in the closing stage behind his fellow countryman David de la Cruz.

Stage success for De la Cruz (Quick-Step Floors) denied Contador 10 precious bonus seconds which would have seen him and not Henao take overall victory.

“It was a crazy day,” beamed Henao. “This is the biggest win of my career, I hope it means more will follow.

“I’ve had some tough times in my life, but today the sun came out for me.”

Stage 8 results, top 10

General classification, top 10

For Contador it was a cruel near miss coming after he had been edged out by just four seconds by Geraint Thomas 12 months ago.

“I only missed out by by a tiny bit, it’s a shame,” he said. “I’m very proud of what I did and I’m satisfied despite finishing second.”

Ireland’s Dan Martin completed the final podium, half a minute behind Henao who became the second Colombian to win the race after Carlos Betancur in 2014.

Team Sky have won five of the past six editions courtesy of Bradley Wiggins (2012), Richie Porte (2013-2015), Thomas (2016) and Henao.

“It was an incredible week for us, with the results of Julian and Dan, we started this weekend with a lot of ambition and we showed that we were a team that gave everything for victory,” said Henao.

The British team have been hit by doping and sexism rows in recent weeks, their reputation taking a battering as a result.

Henao had said he hoped to see out the win for beleaguered team chief Dave Brailsford.

Stage 8 results

General classification