Bradley Wiggins keeps Vuelta lead

Updated: September 2, 2011, 2:47 PM ET
Associated Press

PONFERRADA, Spain -- Swiss rider Michael Albasini won the 13th stage of the Spanish Vuelta on Friday, while Bradley Wiggins of Britain held on to the overall leader's red jersey for a third consecutive day.

Albasini, of HTC-Highroad, sprinted ahead of the leaders in the last mile to finish the 98.3-mile mountain course from Sarria to Ponferrada in 4 hours, 19 minutes, 39 seconds.

Eros Capecchi, of Liquigas-Cannondale, finished second with the same time. He was just ahead of Spaniard Daniel Moreno, who moved into ninth place overall.

The day did not produce major changes among the race favorites. They finished in the peloton about 1 minute, 30 seconds behind a group of 20 riders that broke away early in the stage and managed to protect its lead.

Midway through the stage, defending champion Vicenzo Nibali opened up a lead of 2:30 over Wiggins, only to later be caught by the pack. The Italian rider did manage to reduce Wiggins' lead to just four seconds and move into second place overall.

American Taylor Phinney pulled out of the race because of exhaustion.

Phinney, who was fifth in the 10th stage's individual time trial, said he had "reached the breaking point" and would turn to preparing for the world championship.

The 14th stage Saturday is a 109-mile mountain course from Astorga to La Farrapona.


Copyright 2011 by The Associated Press

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