Taaramae wins stage, Wiggins extends Vuelta lead
Updated: September 03, 2011, 13:37
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LA FARRAPONA, Spain (AP) Rein Taaramae of Cofidis won the 14th stage of the Spanish Vuelta on Saturday for his first victory in a major race and Bradley Wiggins extended his overall lead in a grueling mountain leg.
Taaramae broke away in the final uphill push to finish the 109.2-mile run from Astorga to La Farrapona in 4 hours, 39 minutes, 1 seconds.
"I am very happy because throughout the Vuelta I have had a lot of bad days,'' the Estonian said. "I thought about pulling out, but my team director encouraged me to continue.''
Wiggins is now seven seconds ahead of Sky teammate Christopher Froome, while third-place Bauke Mollema of Rabobank is 36 seconds off the pace.
Defending champion Vicenzo Nibali fell behind on the last of three mountain passes and saw Wiggins' advantage increase from 4 seconds to 1:25, dropping the Italian from second to seventh overall.
Geox rider Joan Jose Cobo of Spain finished 25 seconds behind Taaramae and moved into fourth place in the overall standings.
Sunday's 88.3-mile mountain course from Aviles to Alto de L'Angliru in the northern province of Asturias could prove decisive as the race enters its final week.