Basso out as Nibali extends lead

Two-time Giro d’Italia winner Ivan Basso withdrew from the Vuelta a Espana on Saturday suffering from hypothermia.

The Italian had been seventh overall heading into the 155.7km 14th stage from Baga to Andorra, which was hit by heavy rain and freezing temperatures.

Spaniard Luis Leon Sanchez also pulled out due to hypothermia.

Vincenzo Nibali extended his overall lead to 50 seconds and Ireland’s Nicholas Roche dropped to sixth, as Daniele Ratto broke to win the stage.

Cannondale’s Ratto led from start to finish and was part of an early five-man breakaway group, before taking to the front on his own with more than 40km to go to finish ahead of Astana’s Nibali.

Nibali finished three minutes and 53 seconds further back, overtaking American Christopher Horner in the final metres of the race.

Roche, son of Tour de France and Giro d’Italia winner Stephen, had been second overall but dropped back to leave him four minutes and six seconds behind 2010 champion Nibali in the general classification.

Result of stage 14:

1. Daniele Ratto (Italy / Cannondale) 4:24:00″

2. Vincenzo Nibali (Italy / Astana) +3:53″

3. Chris Horner (U.S. / RadioShack) +3:55″

4. Joaquim Rodriguez (Spain / Katusha) +4:11″

5. Samuel Sanchez (Spain / Euskaltel) +4:19″

6. Alejandro Valverde (Spain / Movistar) +4:43″

7. Thibaut Pinot (France / +4:46″

Overall standing after 14 stages:

1. Vincenzo Nibali (Italy / Astana) 53:56:49″

2. Chris Horner (U.S. / RadioShack) +50″

3. Alejandro Valverde (Spain / Movistar) +1:42″

4. Joaquim Rodriguez (Spain / Katusha) +2:57″

5. Domenico Pozzovivo (Italy / AG2R) +3:43″

6. Nicolas Roche (Ireland / Saxo-Tinkoff) +4:06″

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