- Vuelta a Espana, Stage 14
Rodriguez outclasses Contador to take stage 14
Joaquin Rodriguez tightened his grip on the red jersey with a masterful performance to take glory on stage 14 of the Vuelta a Espana.
Rodriguez produced a stunning final climb on the mountainous course to overhaul main rival Alberto Contador and once again underline his position as the man to beat in the race.
He crossed the line five seconds ahead of Contador and, with the bonus time added, now has a 22-second advantage in the general classification. Britain's Chris Froome is third overall, one minute and 41 seconds in arrears.
A 16-man breakaway formed early on, but Contador's Saxo Bank team kept up the chase diligently at the front of the peloton, and Alberto Losada, by that point the lone leader, was eventually reeled in with 3km left.
Saxo Bank then launched Contador, who had been happy to nestle towards the middle of the peloton, off the front - and he was soon joined by red-jersey contenders Daniel Moreno, Alejandro Valverde and Rodriguez.
With 1.9km remaining, Contador attempted to leave the others trailing in his wake, upping the pace around a tight hairpin. Britain's Froome was the lone pursuer 1km out, but his legs failed him as Rodriguez and Valverde steamed past and closed on Contador.
Rodriguez showed his determination to hold onto the red jersey by passing Contador with 0.3km left, before closing out the stage victory on the 149km hike from Palas de Rei to Puerto de Ancares.
Stage 14 top ten:
1 Joaquin Rodriguez (Spa) Katusha Team 4:20:28
2 Alberto Contador (Spa) Team Saxo Bank 0:00:05
3 Alejandro Valverde (Spa) Movistar Team 0:00:13
4 Daniel Moreno (Spa) Katusha Team 0:00:35
5 Chris Froome (GBr) Team Sky 0:00:38
6 Andrew Talansky (USA) Garmin - Sharp 0:00:44
7 Igor Anton Hernandez (Spa) Euskaltel - Euskadi 0:00:56
8 Laurens Ten Dam (Ned) Rabobank 0:01:04
9 Tomasz Marczynski (Pol) Vacansoleil-DCM 0:01:13
10 Nicolas Roche (Irl) AG2R La Mondiale 0:01:17
General classification top ten:
1 Joaquin Rodriguez (Spa) Katusha Team 53:06:33
2 Alberto Contador (Spa) Team Saxo Bank 0:00:22
3 Chris Froome (GBr) Team Sky 0:01:41
4 Alejandro Valverde (Spa) Movistar Team
5 Daniel Moreno (Spa) Katusha Team 0:04:16
6 Robert Gesink (Ned) Rabobank 0:05:07
7 Nicolas Roche (Irl) AG2R La Mondiale 0:05:51
8 Andrew Talansky (USA) Garmin - Sharp 0:06:13
9 Laurens Ten Dam (Ned) Rabobank 0:06:34
10 Igor Anton Hernandez (Spa) Euskaltel - Euskadi 0:07:16