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Page last updated at 16:04 GMT, Sunday, 25 May 2008 17:04 UK

Contador takes Giro d'Italia lead

Alberto Contador takes the pink jersey after 15 stages
Contador was initially not invited on the Tour

Spaniard Alberto Contador of Astana took the overall lead in the Giro d'Italia on Sunday after coming sixth in the mountainous 15th stage.

Italian Emanuele Sella triumphed in the rain but the plaudits went to Contador, the reigning Tour de France champion.

Contador managed to negotiate the mountain stage from Arabba to Passo Fedaia without conceding more than a handful of seconds.

Italian duo Domenico Pozzovivo and Riccardo Ricco finished behind Sella.

The CSF Group rider completed rare back-to-back stage wins through the mountains as he negotiated a 2057m ascent to the finish.

Sella pulled away on the final climb at Fedaia to finish in four hours, 53 mins and 24 seconds, more than two minutes ahead of the chasing riders.

Contador, who was a late entry in the Giro, was 16secs further back but it was enough for him to take the lead from Gabriele Bosisio.

606: DEBATE
"The pink jersey is a special present for me," said the Astana rider.

"I appreciate this jersey all the more as I had not prepared myself for the Giro.

"If someone had told me 20 days ago when I was lying on the beach that I would be in the leader's pink jersey in the Dolomites, I wouldn't have believed them."


Stage 15 results:

1. Emanuele Sella (Italy / CSF Group ) 4hrs 53mins 24secs
2. Domenico Pozzovivo (Italy / CSF Group ) +2:05"
3. Riccardo Ricco (Italy / Saunier Duval ) +2:11"
4. Danilo Di Luca (Italy / Team LPR ) +2:20"
5. Gilberto Simoni (Italy / Diquigiovanni ) +2:27"
6. Alberto Contador (Spain / Astana ) same time
7. Denis Menchov (Russia / Rabobank ) +2:34"
8. Jurgen Van den Broeck (Belgium / Silence - Lotto ) +3:18"
9. Marzio Bruseghin (Italy / Lampre ) +3:22"
10. Tadej Valjavec (Slovenia / AG2R ) +3:27"

Overall standings:

1. Alberto Contador (Spain / Astana ) 68hrs 06mins 43secs"
2. Riccardo Ricco (Italy / Saunier Duval ) +33"
3. Danilo Di Luca (Italy / Team LPR ) +55"
4. Marzio Bruseghin (Italy / Lampre ) +1:18"
5. Denis Menchov (Russia / Rabobank ) +1:20"
6. Gilberto Simoni (Italy / Diquigiovanni ) +1:26"
7. Franco Pellizotti (Italy / Liquigas ) +2:27"
8. Jurgen Van den Broeck (Belgium / Silence - Lotto ) +2:50"
9. Domenico Pozzovivo (Italy / CSF Group ) +4:04"
10. Emanuele Sella (Italy / CSF Group ) +4:41"


see also
Sella claims solo Giro stage win
24 May 08 |  Cycling
On Tour with Thomas
20 May 08 |  Cycling
Bruseghin takes time trial stage
20 May 08 |  Cycling
Bennati secures ninth Giro stage
18 May 08 |  Cycling
Ricco sprints to second Giro win
17 May 08 |  Cycling
Bosisio break yields Giro glory
16 May 08 |  Cycling
Priamo grabs Giro stage victory
15 May 08 |  Cycling
Snapped chain ends Millar hopes
14 May 08 |  Cycling
Cavendish secures Giro stage win
13 May 08 |  Cycling
Bennati wins third Giro stage
12 May 08 |  Cycling
Ricco secures second Giro stage
11 May 08 |  Cycling
Vandevelde wins first Giro stage
10 May 08 |  Cycling


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