Kazakh cyclist Alexandre Vinokourov has captured the ninth and most difficult stage of the Tour of Spain, while home-country rider Alejandro Valverde took the overall lead for the first time in his career by finishing second.
Vinokourov, who also won the eighth stage, completed Sunday's 206-kilometer ride to the summit of Alto de la Cobertoria in 5:50:43. The stage included six mountain passes.
Valverde finished second in the ninth stage, 16 seconds back, while Kazakh rider Andrey Kashechkin took third place, 21 seconds behind.
Valverde now leads the overall standings, 27 seconds ahead of Kashechkin. Carlos Sastre of Spain is third, 44 seconds behind. Monday is rest day.Some information for this report was provided by AP.