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Martinez becomes new leader in the Vuelta after stage 9
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21:50, September 09, 2008

Team Euskeltel Euskadi rider Egoi Martinez is the new leader of the Vuelta de Espana (Tour of Spain) after the ninth stage of the race on Tuesday.

Martinez, who began the day in 16th position, 6 minutes and 41 seconds ahead of race leader Levi Leipheimer, was part of a 12-man break which finished the 200 kilometer stage between Vielha and Sabianigo, 6 minutes and 42 second ahead of the pack.

That gap, coupled with a time bonus was enough to see Martinez end the day as leader with an 11 second advantage over Leipheimer, who is second overall and a 32-second gap over race favorite Alberto Contador, who is third.

The 12 riders took advantage of the passiveness of the pack on the last climb of the day, 60 kilometers from the finishing line and were able to maintain their advantage to the finish at Sabianigo in the North of Spain.

With Martinez working hard at the head of the break to ensure the pace remained high, he was unable to take part in the sprint to the finish line and the stage was won by Belgian rider Greg Van Avermaet. However, he has the compensation of wearing the gold leader's jersey in tomorrow's stage to Zaragoza.


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