Contador wins Tirreno 5th leg, takes overall lead

The Associated Press

GUARDIAGRELE, Italy (AP) -- Alberto Contador again showed his strength in the mountains as he claimed a second successive Tirreno-Adriatico stage win to move into the overall lead on Sunday.

Contador, who won the grueling fourth stage of the race on Saturday, recorded a dominant victory over another tough leg from Amatrice to Guardiagrele, finishing in 4 hours, 54 minutes and 42 seconds.

The Spaniard made his move on the penultimate climb and then used a final burst of pace to hold off Simon Geschke for the win, beating the German by six seconds. Geschke and American Benjamin King, who finished third, had been in the lead group for most of the day.

''Without a doubt this win will remain one of the best of my career and one that I'll always remember,'' Contador said. ''It flashed by in a second but it'll be a special memory.

''I knew it was risky to try and attack so far out, but I really wanted this victory and I like to do things like that.''

The 192-kilometer (119-mile) leg ended in an ascent up the Muro di Guardiagrele, which has an average gradient of 22.2 percent, with some points at 30 percent.

''It's an incredible climb, I've never seen anything like that,'' Contador added.

Contador took over the lead from Michal Kwiatkowski, who dropped out of the top 10. Contador is 2 minutes, 8 seconds ahead of Movistar's Nairo Quintana and 2:15 ahead of Tinkoff-Saxo teammate Roman Kreuziger.

Monday's penultimate stage is a 189km (117.4 mile) leg from Bucchianico to Porto Sant'Elpidio.

The race ends on Tuesday with an individual time trial in San Benedetto del Tronto.

Many riders are using the race as a warmup for the Milan-San Remo classic on March 23.

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