Stage 14 photo gallery>>

For the second time in 24 hours, Alberto Contador has powered to a lone mountain-top stage win. The Astana rider is now in an even stronger position overall and even closer to taking the third major Tour of his career.

Contador tore away from team-mate Levi Leipheimer and gc challenger Ezequiel Mosquera (Xacobeo-Galicia) 1.5 kilometres from the summit of the Fuentes de Invierno climb.

His winning margin was just a handful of seconds, but the Astana rider still had time for his trademark pistol salute. Second across the line was Leipheimer, with Mosquera in third place.

?You can?t miss out on these occasions,? Contador argued. ?I wasn?t really looking for a stage win, more to open up a bigger margin overall.

?But there were a lot of fans from Madrid come up to see me race, and they told me from the team car I should attack. So I did.

?I said yesterday that we could start racing more defensively. That?s what I plan to do from now on, until Saturday?s final mountain time trial.?

Contador?s victory on stage 14 was in no way a carbon copy of the clinically executed teamwork by Astana on the Angliru, which culminated in his final, devastating attack.

Instead, the 25-year-old followed a powerful acceleration by Mosquera four kilometres from the line, with Leipheimer sticking to his team leader?s back wheel like glue.

Fifth in the Vuelta last year, Mosquera?s move had caused both Alejandro Valverde (Caisse D?Epargne) and Carlos Sastre (CSC-Saxo Bank) to crack. Sensing he could challenge for the podium, the Galician veteran kept the pace high despite a noticeable lack of collaboration from either Contador or Leipheimer.

?I didn?t need to increase my lead any further overall, so I didn?t want to do any work,? Contador said afterwards – a statement which contradicted completely his earlier claim that he had only followed Mosquera because he wanted to gain more time overall.

Whatever the real reason was, after Contador’s second stage win in the Vuelta, Sastre and Valverde are now even further back overall.

The 2008 Tour winner has lost time to Contador on every uphill finish in the Vuelta, and on Sunday Sastre lost another 20 seconds. Any lingering hopes of Sastre ‘doing an Alpe d’Huez’ and attacking when least expected must now be forgotten.

After his superb ride on the Angliru, Valverde might have been expected to do better at Fuentes de Invierno, where the steady, relatively easy gradient was surely more in his favour. Instead, he lost a minute to Contador, and has dropped to sixth overall.

?I haven?t won this by a long chalk,? Contador – ever cautious – argued. ?I?m expecting to be attacked every day. But things are certainly looking good.?

One rider doing much better than expected is Robert Gesink, the young Rabobank climber who is now fifth overall after taking fourth at Fuentes de Invierno: a superb result, considering the Vuelta is his first ever major Tour.

TOUR OF SPAIN 2008: STAGE 14 RESULTS

1. Alberto Contador (Spain) Astana 158.4kms in 4hr 16min 01sec


2. Levi Leipheimer (USA) Astana at 2sec

3. Ezequiel Mosquera (Spa) Xacobeo-Galicia at 4sec

4. Robert Gesink (Hol) Rabobank at 20sec

5. David Moncoutie (Fra) Cofidis

6. Carlos Sastre (Spa) CSC-Saxo Bank all same time.

7. Marzio Bruseghin (Ita) Lampre at 1min 0sec

8. Oliver Zaugg (Swi) Gerolsteiner

9. Joaquin Rodriguez (Spa) Caisse D’Epargne

10. John Gadret (Fra) Ag2R all same time

British

134. Jeremy Hunt (GB) Credit Agricole at 19min 37sec

OVERALL CLASSIFICATION AFTER STAGE 14

1. Alberto Contador (Spain) Astana 55hr 56min 58sec


2. Levi Leipheimer (USA) Astana at 1min 017sec

3. Carlos Sastre (Spa) Astana at 3min 41sec

4. Ezequiel Mosquera (Spa) Xacobeo-Galicia at 4min 35secs

5. Robert Gesink (Ned) Rabobank at 5min 49sec

6. Alejandro Valverde (Spa) Caisse D’Epargne at 6 min

7. Joaquim Rodriguez (Spa) Caisse D’Epargne at 6 min 11sec

8. Egoi Martinez (Spa) Euskaltel-Euskadi at 8min 56sec

9. David Moncoutie (Fra) Cofidis at 9min 32sec

10. Oliver Zaugg (Swi) Gerolsteiner at 10 min 01sec

British

127. Jeremy Hunt (GB) Credit Agricole at 2hr 04min 25sec

Tour of Spain - Vuelta a Espana 2008Carlos Sastre and Alberto Contador

Tour of Spain - Vuelta a Espana 2008Inigo Landaluze leads the break

Tour of Spain - Vuelta a Espana 2008Caisse d’Epargne drive the pace

Tour of Spain - Vuelta a Espana 2008Alberto Contador wins his second consecutive stage

Photos by Graham Watson

TOUR OF SPAIN 2008

STAGE REPORTS

Stage 14: Contador takes second mountain-top stage win

Stage 13: Contador wins on Angliru to take lead

Stage 12: Bettini wins, Valverde out of contention

Stage 11: Freire wins stage

Stage 10: Hinault wins, Martinez retains lead

Stage nine: Van Avermaet takes stage, Martinez new leader

Stage eight: Moncoutie triumphs in Vuelta’s second Pyrenean stage

Stage seven: Ballan takes surprise win in mountains

Stage six: Bettini wins, Chavanel leads

Stage five: time trial win for Leipheimer

Stage four: Bennati takes crash-strewn stage

Stage three: Boonen bounces back

Stage two: Valverde powers into lead

Stage one: Liquigas are surprise winners

NEWS

Tour of Spain rest day review 1

Tour of Spain on Eurosport (schedule)

Behind the scenes at the Tour of Spain

Tour of Spain – still a week too long?

Tour of Spain kicks off this weekend

PHOTOS

Stage 14

Stage 13

Stage 12

Stage 11

Stage 10

Stage nine

Stage eight

Stage seven

Stage six

Stage five

Stage four

Stage three

Stage two

Stage one