Swift pipped for Vuelta stage win

Britain’s Ben Swift agonisingly missed out on a stage victory in the Vuelta a Espana as Alberto Contador retained the overall lead after stage 18.

The Team Sky rider was well positioned in a sprint finish into Valladolid after the longest stage of the race.

But Italian Daniele Bennati edged him out on the line by a few centimetres to deny the Briton a notable win.

Contador remains on course for a first major victory since returning from a doping ban, with three stages left.

Another long flat stage beckons on Friday ahead of the final mountain stage on Saturday, before the three-week race concludes in Madrid on Sunday.

Contador leads compatriot Alejandro Valverde by one minute and 52 seconds, with the long-time leader Joaquim Rodriguez 2:28 back in third.

Great Britain’s Chris Froome, the Tour de France runner-up and Olympic time-trial bronze medallist, remains fourth, 9:40 down on Contador.

Stage 18 results:

1. Daniele Bennati (Ita/Radioshack) 4:17:17

2. Ben Swift (GB/Team Sky) same time

3. Allan Davis (Aus/Orica) same time

4. Lloyd Mondory(Fra/AG2R) same time

5. John Degenkolb (Ger/Argos) same time

Overall standings after 18 stages:

1. Alberto Contador (Spa/Saxo Bank) 72:25:21″

2. Alejandro Valverde (Spa/Movistar) +1:52″

3. Joaquim Rodriguez (Spa/Katusha) +2:28″

4. Chris Froome (GB/Team Sky) +9:40″

5. Daniel Moreno (Spa/Katusha) +11:36″

6. Robert Gesink (Ned/Rabobank) +12:02″

7. Laurens ten Dam (Ned/Rabobank) +12:55″

8. Andrew Talansky (US/Garmin) +13:06″

9. Igor Anton (Spa/Euskaltel) +13:49″

10. Benat Intxausti (Spa/Movistar) +14:10″

Article source: http://www.bbc.co.uk/sport/0/cycling/19510161

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