Lastras takes 3rd stage and overall Vuelta lead
Updated: August 22, 2011, 13:28
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TOTANA, Spain (AP) Pablo Lastras of Spain took the overall lead of the Spanish Vuelta on Monday by winning the race's third stage.
The Movistar rider completed the 101-mile ride from Petrer to Totana in 3 hours, 58 minutes to finish 15 seconds ahead of three chasers in searing heat.
Lastras broke away on his own about 3.7 miles from the finish of a leg that featured just two short climbs. Afterward he dedicated the win to former teammate Xavier Tondo, who died after a freak accident this year.
Lastras was emotional when talking about Tondo and the team's problems this year. Colombian teammate Juan Mauricio Soler is still recovering from serious injuries he suffered in a crash at the Tour of Switzerland in June.
Tondo was killed one month earlier when he became wedged between his car and a garage door.
"We were due,'' Lastras said. "It was a deserved victory. ... I was well motivated to lift my arms.''
Lastras leads Sylvain Chavanel of France by 20 seconds. The QuickStep cyclist finished second ahead of Markel Irizar of RadioShack and Ruslan Pydgornyy of Vacansoleil-DCM.
Irizar is third overall 1:08 behind and Pydgornyy is fourth 1:24 off the pace.
Defending champion Vincenzo Nibali of Italy is seventh overall 1:59 back going into Tuesday's fourth stage, a 106-mile leg finishing at an elevation of 6,929 feet at a Sierra Nevada ski resort.