Garcia Dapena takes Vuelta's 15th stage; Contador maintains lead

Updated: September 15, 2008, 12:52 PM ET
Associated Press

PONFERRADA, Spain -- David Garcia Dapena of Spain won the 15th leg of the Spanish Vuelta on Monday, while compatriot Alberto Contador held the overall lead.

Garcia Dapena completed the 126-mile route from Cudillero to Ponferrada in northern Spain in a time of 5 hours, 2 minutes, 27 seconds.

The Xacobeo-Galicia cyclist finished 17 seconds ahead of Nick Nuyens of Belgium and Juan Manuel Garate of Spain.

Garcia Dapena was among a group of 17 riders who broke away early from the peloton and spent much of the race on their own. About two miles from the finish line, he sprinted away from the pack.

The pack finished more than 14 minutes behind the top three.

Contador, who won the 2007 Tour de France and this year's Giro d'Italia, holds an overall lead of 1:17 over Astana teammate Levi Leipheimer of the United States. Carlos Sastre of Spain is 3:41 behind Contador in third place.

Contador fell at one point Monday but was not seriously injured.

Tuesday's 16th stage runs 116 miles from Ponferrada to Zamora and includes category 1 peak Alto del Acebo.

The Vuelta -- considered cycling's third biggest race behind the Tour of France and the Giro d'Italia -- finishes with a ride down Madrid's Paseo de la Castellana on Sunday.


Copyright 2008 by The Associated Press

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