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updated: 8/26/2013 4:26 PM

Horner wins 3rd stage of Vuelta to take lead

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  • Christopher Horner celebrates on the podium after winning the third stage of the Spanish Vuelta on Monday and taking the overall lead. The 21-stage race ends in Madrid on Sept. 15.

      Christopher Horner celebrates on the podium after winning the third stage of the Spanish Vuelta on Monday and taking the overall lead. The 21-stage race ends in Madrid on Sept. 15.
    Associated Press

 
Associated Press

VILAGARCIA DE AROUSA, Spain -- American veteran Christopher Horner won Monday's third stage of the Spanish Vuelta to take the overall leader's jersey, with race organizers saying he became the oldest rider to earn a stage victory in one of cycling's three grand tours.

The 41-year-old RadioShack-Leopard rider broke away on the last uphill climb to win the 107-mile ride from Vigo to Vilagarcia de Arousa in 4 hours, 30 minutes, 18 seconds.

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Horner overtook Giro d'Italia winner Vincenzo Nibali as the race leader, with the Italian now 3 seconds back in second.

"My legs felt very good today. I am very, very happy and feel very strong," Horner said, adding that he believed the overall victory was within his reach. "I'm a small guy and don't weigh much, so I like big mountains. Maybe I can win. I won the Tour of Basque Country, so why can't I win the Spanish Vuelta?"

Race organizers did not immediately say whose age record Horner broke. The Vuelta is the third grand tour of the season after the Giro and the Tour de France.

Gusting winds caused the peloton to break into small groups as the course took riders along the coast before crossing a bridge to the island of Arousa for a final category-three climb to the finish line, which Horner crossed with his arms raised in victory.

Alejandro Valverde and fellow Spanish contender Joaquim Rodriguez were second and third for the stage. Nibali also finished in the leading group three seconds behind Horner.

"It has been a complicated day because of the wind," Valverde said. "It's a shame we didn't get the win, but the important thing is that we are in a good position and I feel fine."

Tuesday's fourth stage stays in the northwest region of Galicia with a 117-mile ride from Lalin ending again at the Atlantic coast in Fisterra. The three-week race ends in Madrid on Sept. 15.

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