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Last Updated: Saturday, 13 September, 2003, 17:15 GMT 18:15 UK
Rodriguez snatches home win
The field was split on day eight
Joaquin Rodriguez won stage eight of the Tour of Spain after outsprinting fellow Spaniard Aitor Osa.

Rodriguez, who hails from Catalonia, won on familiar soil at the end of a 166.2-kilometre stage, which started in Cauterets, France.

It was a third stage success for Rodriguez's team, riding its last Vuelta under the ONCE banner.

"This is the stage I had marked with a cross in my route book because now I have won in my home region," he said.

Rodriguez led the race for two stages early in the Tour before yielding to compatriot and team-mate Isidro Nozal, who has retained his overall lead.

The day's big loser was Manuel Beltran, who lost 38 seconds on Nozal, slipping one place to third.

Nozal goes into Sunday's ninth stage with a lead of one minute 21 seconds over his ONCE team captain Igor Gonzalez de Galdeano.

Nozal, who finished almost four minutes behind Rodriguez, said he had been satisfied to hold on to the lead for the fifth day.

"I am satisfied that I am able to ride so well in the mountains, although today's course suited me much better than yesterday."

Rodriguez's stage victory was his team's third of the tour, which could help them find a sponsor for next season.


Stage eight results:

1 Joaquin Rodriguez (Spa) ONCE 4:45:40
2 Aitor Osa (Spa) Bannesto same time
3 Constantino Zaballa (Spa) Kelme at 51 secs
4 Josť Jufre (Spa) CRF at 51 secs
5 Joan Horrach (Spa) Milaneze at 54 secs
6.Unai Etxebarria (Spain) Euskaltel-Euskadi 1:13
7.Denis Lunghi (Italy) Alessio1 :32
8.Eladio Jimenez (Spain) banesto.com 2:15
9.Michael Rasmussen (Denmark) Rabobank 3:31
10.Luis Perez (Spain) Cofidis same time

Overall standings:

1 Isidro Nozal (Spa) ONCE 24:58:08
2 Igor Gonzalez de Galdeano (Spa) ONCE at 1:21
3 Manuel Beltran (Spa) US Postal at 1:34
4 Dario Frigo (Ita) Fassa at 3:07
5 Roberto Heras (Spa) US Postal at 3:18
6.Francisco Mancebo (Spain) Ibanesto.com 3:40
7.Aitor Gonzalez (Spain) Fassa Bortolo 4:00
8.Alejandro Valverde (Spain) Kelme-Costa Blanca 4:03
9.Michael Rasmussen (Denmark) Rabobank 4:04
10.Unai Osa (Spain) Ibanesto.com 4:14




SEE ALSO
Rasmussen lands stage win
12 Sep 03  |  Cycling
Stage win keeps Nozal ahead
11 Sep 03  |  Cycling
Petacchi makes history
10 Sep 03  |  Cycling
Etxebarria wins Vuelta stage
09 Sep 03  |  Cycling
Petacchi claims sprint victory
08 Sep 03  |  Cycling
Perez claims victory
07 Sep 03  |  Cycling
ONCE set Vuelta pace
06 Sep 03  |  Cycling


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