Sun, Sep 09, 2012 - Page 19 News List

Gilbert wins Vuelta stage, but Contador hangs on to lead

AFP, LA LASTRILLA, Spain

Belgian Philippe Gilbert celebrates as he crosses the finish line to win the 19th stage of the Tour of Spain, a 178.4km ride from Penafiel to La Lastrilla, on Friday.

Photo: AFP

Belgian rider Philippe Gilbert clinched his second stage win of the Tour of Spain on Friday with a final surge, while Spain’s Alberto Contador held on to the overall leader’s red jersey.

Gilbert launched an attack less than 1km from the line of the 19th stage and broke ahead of a pack of around 40 cyclists to finish ahead of Spaniards Alejandro Valverde and Daniel Moreno.

The BMC rider, who also won the ninth stage, completed the 178.4km 19th stage through completely flat terrain from Penafiel to La Lastrilla in four hours, 56 minutes and 25 seconds.

“It is my second stage win, I am very happy, my team was attentive all day,” Gilber said at the end of the race. “We discussed the stage and we were told that the end was very technical, it is really where the pack broke up and I thought for me it was better to sprint.”

Contador, back in the saddle after a two-year doping ban, finished in 11th place, three seconds behind Gilbert, but he was able to hold on to the overall race lead with just two stages left.

Valverde, of the Movistar team, is in second place in the overall standings, 1 minutes, 35 seconds behind Contador, while compatriot Joaquim Rodriguez of Katusha is third, 2 minutes, 21 seconds from the leader.

The 21-stage race — one of cycling’s three “major tours” along with the Tour de France and the Giro d’Italia — ends in Madrid today after covering a total distance of 3,300km.

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