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Rodriguez wins 8th stage, takes lead of Vuelta

Updated: August 27, 2011, 13:23

SAN LORENZO DE EL ESCORIAL, Spain (AP) Spanish rider Joaquin Rodriguez took over the Spanish Vuelta leader's jersey from Sylvain Chavanel after winning the eighth stage on Saturday.

The Katusha team rider broke away from the pack on a brutal 20-degree final climb to finish the 110-mile course from Talavera de la Reina to San Lorenzo de El Escorial in 4 hours, 49 minutes, 1 second.

Chavanel, who had led for the previous four stages, fell behind on the last section and ended the day a full minute behind Rodriguez in eighth place overall.

Rodriguez's teammate Daniel Moreno was second overall at 32 seconds behind, while defending champion Vicenzo Nibali was 45 seconds off the pace.

"I knew the final part of the stage because I came to see it with Dani Moreno in July and I am very excited to win here,'' said Rodriguez, adding that his team had been superb.

For the second consecutive day, a small group of riders escaped early, establishing a six-minute advantage, before being caught by the peloton in the final minutes.

United States rider Tyler Farrar and Michal Golas of Poland abandoned the Vuelta on Saturday because of injuries suffered in the pile-up provoked by Farrar's fall just before the finish line of the seventh stage.

Golas received 17 stitches in his face.

Spanish rider Oscar Freire, of Rabobank, also abandoned the race after experiencing chest pains.

The ninth stage Sunday is a 114-mile mountain course from Villacastin to Sierra de Bejar.

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