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Tuesday, 24 September, 2002, 15:15 GMT 16:15 UK
Botero surges to win
Roberto Heras
Heras won stage 15 up the notorious L'Angliru

Colombia's Santiago Botero won the 155km stage 16 of the Tour of Spain from Aviles to Leon as Roberto Heras retained the leader's gold jersey.

Kelme rider Botero outsprinted Spain's Luis Perez on the line to win in three hours 32 minutes seven seconds.

The pair attacked 1.5 km from the finish after they had formed part of a five-man breakaway.

Spain's Jose Gutierrez, Aitor Osa and David Plaza finished five seconds further behind.

US Postal's Heras retained the overall lead he established with victory on stage 15 after finishing in the main pack almost nine minutes behind.


I almost thought I would abandon on the Angliru stage but this is a great reward for persevering
Santiago Botero

Heras heads Kelme's Aitor Gonzalez by 35 seconds with one-time leader Oscar Sevilla, also of Kelme, in third 1:08 behind.

Tour de France runner-up Joseba Beloki, of the Once team, is in fourth at 1:57.

The 29-year-old Botero is a long way down the general classification after a disappointing first two weeks but he was pleased to have grabbed a stage win for his team.

"It's a good feeling to find yourself winning after such a hard time in the first fortnight of racing," said Botero, who won two stages in last year's race, and two in the Tour de France this year.

"I almost thought I would abandon on the Angliru stage, but this is a great reward for persevering."

Wednesday's 17th stage takes the peloton on a 145.6km run between Benaventa to Salamanca.


Stage 16 results (Aviles to Leon, 154.7km):

1 Santiago Botero (Col) Kelme-Costa Blanca 3hrs 32mins 7secs
2 Luis Perez (Spa) Team Coast at same time
3 Jose Gutierrez (Spa) Kelme-Costa Blanca at 5secs
4 Aitor Osa (Spa) iBanesto.com
5 David Plaza (Spa) Team Coast both at same time
6 Erik Zabel (Ger) Team Telekom at 8mins 58secs
7 MA Martin Perdiguero (Spa) Acqua & Sapone-Cantina Tollo
8 Gerrit Glomser (Aut) Saeco-Longoni Sport
9 Carlos Torrent (Spa) Jazztel-Costa De Almeria
10 Mikel Artetxe (Spa) Euskaltel-Euskadi

General classification after stage 16:

1 Roberto Heras (Spa) US Postal, 58hrs 55mins 13secs
2 Aitor Gonzalez (Spa) Kelme-Costa Blanca at 35secs
3 Oscar Sevilla (Spa) Kelme-Costa Blanca at 1:08
4 Joseba Beloki (Spa) ONCE-Eroski at 1.57
5 Iban Mayo (Spa) Euskaltel-Euskadi at 2.16 6 Francesco Casagrande (Ita) Fassa Bortolo at 3.56
7 Felix Garcia Casas (Spa) Bigmat.Auber 93 at 4.05
8 Gilberto Simoni (Ita) Saeco-Longoni Sport at 4.55
9 Manuel Beltran (Spa) Team Coast at 5.20
10 Haimar Zubeldia (Spa) Euskaltel-Euskadi at 5.26

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