CUITU NEGRU, Spain (AFP) –
Italian cyclist Dario Cataldo won the 16th stage of the Tour of Spain on Monday, a punishing 183.5km mountain ride from Gijon to Cuitu Negru in northern Spain.
Cataldo, 27-year-old cyclist of the Omega team, was alone at the finishing line, ahead of second-placed Belgian Thomas de Gendt of the Omega team who had stuck with him in a breakaway through most of the race.
In the final stretch, Rodriguez and main rival Contador of Saxo Bank battled for third position in the stage.
Rodriguez, nicknamed “Purito”, withstood a Contador attack in the final kilometre of the climb to the peak of Cuitu Negru in the ski resort of Valgrande-Pajares of northern Spain’s Asturias region.
The 33-year-old Rodriguez came in third and consolidated his position as overall tour leader, 28 seconds ahead of Contador and 2min 4 sec ahead of Alejandro Valverde.