AMERICAN CHRIS HORNER of the RadioShack team claimed his first grand tour victory in the third stage of the Tour of Spain on Monday, taking the overall lead in the process.
The 41-year-old produced an impressive kick in the 4km climb to the finishing line to edge out 2009 champion Alejandro Valverde (Movistar) and Katusha’s Joaquim Rodriguez.
Overnight leader Vincenzo Nibali (Astana) finished 11th, the Giro d’Italia champion dropping to second overall just three seconds behind Horner.
Ireland’s Nico Roche is third overall, just 11 seconds down on Horner after finishing ninth on today’s 172.5 km stage. He also holds the Green points and polka dot mountain jerseys.
His compatriot Dan Martin, riding for Garmin-Sharp, did even better today, finishing third over the gruelling final climb. Martin is 33rd overall, one minute, 44 seconds down on the leader.
Meanwhile, Sky leader Sergio Henao endured another frustrating day as he now trails the leaders by over three minutes.
Team director for the race Nicolas Portal said earlier in the day that the Colombian had amazingly forgotten to eat during the second stage on Sunday, leaving him drained as he was dropped from the peloton on the demanding category one climb up the Alto do Monte da Groba.
And his luck didn’t improve on Monday as he first suffered a puncture and was then involved in a minor crash.
Additional reporting from AFP