Favored Albanova won her third consecutive German group I, capturing the IVG-Preis von Europa at Cologne Sunday by a half-length over Saldentigerin, but she made hard work of it under strong urging from jockey Seb Sanders.The 5-year-old mare earlier won the West LB Deutschland-Preis (Ger-I) in July at Dusseldorf and the Rheinland-Pokal (Ger-I) at the same 1 1/2-mile distance at Cologne last month. Sunday, she battled the pacesetting Saldentigerin and jockey Andrasch Starke furiously for the final furlong before edging away close to home for a narrow victory. Sanders earned a two-day suspension for excessive use of his whip on the 7-5 favorite."I was confident that she could peg back the leader but I had to get at her a bit in the final furlong," Sanders said. "She's a really tough mare."Darsalam, who rated in second until the final quarter-mile as Saldentigerin opened up a three-length advantage, challenged in the final furlong but was denied, holding on for third, three-quarters of a length behind the runner-up. Egerton, a late closer on the outside, settled for fourth.Albanova became the first filly or mare to win the Preis von Europa in the 41-year history of the race. Andreas Boschert, the jockey on Darsalam, lodged an objection against Albanova for crowding him as Darsalam attempted to squeeze between the first two in the closing stages, but it was disallowed.Sir Mark Prescott trains Albanova, a gray daughter of Alzao, for owner/breeder Kirsten Rausing.Lord John FitzGerald, representing the winner's owner-breeder, Kirsten Rausing, said, "We have to pay tribute to a great training performance by Sir Mark. He's brought her to Germany three times and won a group I each time. She has one possible late season group I target in Italy but will definitely be retired at the end of the year." The final time for the 12 furlongs on soft going was 2:36.12.