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WORLD SPORT

Kirchen holds on to win in Poland

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Kirchen's victory in the Tour of Poland is the biggest in his career

KARPACZ, Poland -- Luxembourg's Kim Kirchen produced his best performance in an individual time trial to win the Tour of Poland on Sunday.

The 27-year-old Fassa Bortolo rider placed sixth in the final 19km stage to finish five seconds ahead of his main rival Pieter Weening of the Netherlands.

Weening was fifth in the deciding leg won by Dutchman Thomas Dekker in 30 minutes, 54 seconds.

Earlier in the day, Kirchen won the hilly 61km seventh stage from Jelenia Gora to Karpacz by two seconds from Italian Danilo Di Luca - the current overall Pro Tour leader.

That gave him an 11 second advantage over Weening going into the time trial, a lead he just held onto.

Dekker's time trial victory put him 11 seconds behind in third overall with Di Luca fifth behind Swede Thomas Loevkvist.

"I can say I'm relieved," said Kirchen after his first Pro Tour success. "It was hard. I suffered a lot and I doubted I could do it but it's a great reward.

Rabobank rider Weening closed to within five seconds of Kirchen after 10km but could not peg the winner back.

The nephew of Jean Kirchen, a professional rider in the 1950s, and the son of Erny Kirchen, who raced in the 1970s, cycling runs in his blood.

"In Luxembourg, cycling is something which is passed from fathers to sons," he said. "I never doubted that I should become a professional. And I'm not disappointed."

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