The 2008 Tour de France winner Carlos Sastre staged a late charge in the final climb to win the Giro's 16th stage. The Spaniard, who moved into third in the overall standings behind Russia's Denis Menchov, still hopes for a shot at the pink jersey.
REUTERS - Spain's Carlos Sastre staged a stunning late charge to win the 16th stage of the Giro d'Italia on Monday and Russia's Denis Menchov stayed top of the overall standings.
Cervelo's Sastre, the 2008 Tour de France winner, reeled in Ukrainian Yaroslav Popovych on the final climb to finish the 237km slog from Pergola in seven hours 11 minutes 54 seconds.
Popovych looked to be on his way to victory when he zipped away from fellow escapees Damiano Cunego and Gabriele Bosisio of Italy.
But he faded in the closing stages and Sastre, who had briefly looked in trouble, took advantage to claim a superb win and move from fifth to third overall.
Sastre said he hoped the stage, which leaves him 2:19 adrift of Menchov, will revive his bid to win the race.
"Today was important," he told Rai television. "We've got some important stages in front of us. This was one of the hardest of the Giro. I'm here to give my all. I'm here to fight to try to win this Giro."
Rabobank rider Menchov, twice Tour of Spain winner, powered away from his main rival Danilo Di Luca to come home 25 seconds behind the Spaniard and increase his advantage over LRP Italian Di Luca, the 2007 winner, to 39 seconds.
The day's big loser was Astana's Levi Leipheimer who dropped from third to sixth.
The American recovered to make it back to the bunch after a puncture with about 25km to go but wilted towards the end to slip 3:21 off the pace.
Seven-times Tour de France winner Lance Armstrong, Leipheimer's compatriot and team mate, is 11:06 behind Menchov in 12th.
The riders have a rest day on Tuesday, followed by a punishing climb from Chieti to Blockhaus in Di Luca's earthquake-hit home region of Abruzzo.
The centenary edition of the race finishes in Rome on Sunday.
Date created : 2009-05-26