Contador set for Tour of Spain win
Australian cyclist Richie Porte was second to Russia’s Denis Menchov on the 20th and penultimate stage of the Tour of Spain on Saturday as Spain’s Alberto Contador retained the overall lead.
Barring a disaster, Saxo Bank rider Contador, back in the saddle after a two-year doping ban, is set for victory with just the final 115km largely flat stage from Cercedilla to Madrid to race.
A 20-rider breakaway group split from the peloton after 20km, but was reduced to just three 10km out from the mountain-top finish.
Katusha rider Menchov called on all his climbing skills to finish 17sec ahead of Sky’s Porte, with Belgian Kevin De Weert (Omega-Pharma) a further 25sec adrift.
De Weert had dropped off during the climb, but Menchov was left to see off Porte in a final desperate sprint.
Contador suffered in the final gruelling ascent but managed 12th place to stay atop the overall standings.
The Spaniard now sits 1min 16sec ahead of compatriot Alejandro Valverde (Movistar), with Joaquim Rodriguez (Katusha) in third at 1:37, the duo having taken 19 and 34sec off Contador in the day’s stage, respectively.
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 on Sunday after covering a total distance of 3,300 kilometres.© AFP 2013
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