Contador takes overall lead from Martinez at Spanish Vuelta

Updated: September 13, 2008, 2:08 PM ET
Associated Press

ALTO DE L'ANGLIRU, Spain -- Alberto Contador took the overall lead of the Spanish Vuelta on Saturday by leading a Spanish sweep in the 13th stage.

The 25-year-old Astana rider finished the 130-mile stage from San Vicente de la Barquera to Alto de L'Angliru, a 5,118-foot peak, in 5 hours, 52 minutes, 35 seconds. He leads American Levi Leipheimer by 1:07 and Spaniard Carlos Sastre by 3:01 in the overall standings.

"I know victories like these are few and the L'Angliru climb is the stuff of myths," Contador said. "With the encouragement of so many people who came here from all over, including my home town, the climb was less hard."

Alejandro Valverde finished the stage 42 seconds behind and Joaquin Rodriguez Oliver was third 58 seconds back.

Contador took the overall lead from Egoi Martinez of Spain, who finished 23rd after struggling up the climb.

Contador said there was a lot still to do to win the Vuelta.

"My legs have done well and the team has been on top form, but the race will be decided at the finish line in Madrid," he said.

Sunday's 14th stage is a 98-mile leg from Oviedo to Fuentes de Invierno, finishing with a climb up the 4,921-foot San Isidro peak.

The cycling season's third major race -- after the Tour de France and Giro d'Italia -- finishes in Madrid on Sept. 21. There are eight stages left.


Copyright 2008 by The Associated Press

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