Kiryienka wins Vuelta stage, Nibali clings to lead

The Associated Press

PENA CABARGA, Spain (AP) -- Vasil Kiryienka of Belarus broke away before a final grueling ascent to win the 18th stage of the Spanish Vuelta on Thursday, while overall leader Vincenzo Nibali had his advantage over Christopher Horner cut to 3 seconds with three days to go.

Kiryienka finished in a provisional time of 4 hours, 46 minutes, 48 seconds following a 116-mile route starting in Burgos and passing over four major climbs before a final uphill push to the finishing line at Pena Cabarga.

The 41-year-old Horner used an impressive burst to pull away from Nibali over the final stretch where the slope reached 20 degrees, gaining 25 seconds on his rival.

This was the first of three decisive mountain stages in northern Spain before the traditional finish in Madrid on Sunday.

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