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Australia's Evans takes Tour of Spain lead

Australia's Cadel Evans Cadel Evans (born 14 February 1977, in Katherine, Northern Territory) is an Australian professional cyclist. Evans finished second in the 2007 Tour de France. Prior to turning to road cycling in 2001, Evans was a champion mountain biker, riding for the Volvo-Cannondale MTB team,  took the overall lead of the Tour of Spain on Sunday following the race's eighth stage, the first to be held in the mountains, which was won by Italy's Damiano Cunego Damiano Cunego (born September 19, 1981) is an Italian professional road bicycle racer. He rides for the the Italian UCI ProTeam Lampre-Fondital. Primarily a climber, he has improved his time-trialing performance and is a general classification contender for the stage races. .

Evans finished the 204.7-kilometre (127-mile) ride between Alzira and Aitana in fourth place, 44 seconds behind the leader, to take the golden jersey from Swiss Olympic time-trial gold medallist Fabian Cancellara Fabian Cancellara (born March 18, 1981) is a Swiss professional road bicycle racer. A time trial specialist, he is the current, and two time, World Time Trial Champion. In 2006 he also became the only second Swiss winner of the Classic one-day race Paris-Roubaix, following Heiri , who finished over 25 minutes behind the Cunego.

The 32-year-old said he arrived at the Tour of Spain "refreshed" after taking a holiday following his worst performance at the Tour of France where he ended in 30th place.

"I didn't come here with any special motivation for the Tour or with the idea to win something. But things have changed," he said.

Evans, who finished in second place during the 2007 and 2008 Tour of France, is now just ahead of the two other favourites to win the Tour of Spain, Spanish riders Alejandro Valverde Alejandro Valverde Belmonte (born April 25, 1980 in Las Lumbreras, Murcia) is a Spanish cyclist. At age 27, he is thought to be one of the most talented cyclists of his generation.  and Samuel Sanchez, after Sunday's stage.

He is two seconds ahead of Valverde and eight seconds in front of Sanchez.

Cunego sprinted ahead of France's David Moncoutie in the final kilometre to win his first-ever stage of the Tour of Spain in six hours, four minutes and 54 seconds.

"I knew this could be my day. This is an important win for me," he said.

Nicknamed the "Piccolo piccolo, small transverse flute pitched an octave higher than the standard flute. Its tone is bright and shrill, and it can produce the highest notes in the orchestral range. The piccolo is used in orchestras and especially in military bands. See fife.  Principe" or "Little Prince" because he is considered to be one of cycling?s biggest prodigies, Cunego won Giro giro

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 d?Italia at just 22 in 2004.

Meanwhile, Luxembourg's Andy Schleck Andy Schleck (born June 10, 1985) is a Luxembourgian professional road bicycle racer who, since 2005, has been riding for the Team CSC outfit in the UCI ProTour race series. Andy is the younger brother of Fränk Schleck, whom he rides alongside at Team CSC. , who finished second in this year's Tour of France, pulled out of the race at the 88 kilometres mark.

Race organisers did not specify the reason for his retirement. Schleck ended the seventh stage on Saturday in 51st position in the overall standings, 3min 10sec off the pace.

The Tour continues on Monday with the 188.8-kilometre ninth stage from Alcoy to Xorret del Cati that includes two category one climbs.

Last year's top three finishers, champion Alberto Contador of Spain, US rider Levi Leipheimer and Carlos Sastre also of Spain, have stayed away this year from the three-week race that ends in Madrid on September 20.
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Publication:AFP Asian Edition
Date:Sep 7, 2009
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