CUITUNIGRU, Spain (AP) — Joaquin Rodriguez is in prime position to win the Spanish Vuelta after holding off Alberto Contador on Monday during the most the demanding leg of the race. The mountainous 16th stage was won by Dario Cataldo of Italy.
Contador tried repeatedly to break away from his fellow Spaniard during the final miles. Rodriguez pulled ahead as the riders neared the finish at the summit.
Rodriguez extended his lead by 6 seconds over Contador in the 21-stage race. He now leads by 28 seconds as he nears what would be his first Vuelta victory.
Cataldo won the 114-mile stage in 5 hours, 18 minutes, 28 seconds. Thomas de Gendt of Belgium was next, 7 seconds back. Rodriguez was 2:39 behind in third.
Copyright 2012 The Associated Press. All rights reserved. This material may not be published, broadcast, rewritten or redistributed.