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Rodriguez wins 2nd Volta a Catalunya

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POSTED March 30, 2014 7:27 p.m.

BARCELONA, Spain (AP) — Joaquim Rodriguez won his second Volta a Catalunya title in his hometown of Barcelona on Sunday as he prepares for the Giro d’Italia in search of an elusive grand tour victory.

Dutch cyclist Lieuwe Westra of Astana broke away to win the seventh and final stage, a rainy 120.7-kilometer (74.9-mile) ride around the Catalan capital finishing with eight laps of the Montjuic hill, in 2 hours, 36 minutes, 14 seconds.

Rodriguez stayed with nearest rival Alberto Contador to protect his four-second lead over his fellow Spaniard in the overall standings and repeat his Volta victory from 2010. The Katusha rider took the lead of this edition, the 94th, on Wednesday when he surged past Contador, Nairo Quintana and Tour de France winner Christopher Froome to a summit finish at La Molina in the Pyrenees mountains.

Contador launched one last attack on Sunday during a short climb with two kilometers to go, but Rodriguez had no trouble staying pegged to his wheel as he had during three previous stages, each one marked by snow, fog, wind, or rain.

Rodriguez completed the weeklong race in 29 hours, 41 minutes, 34 seconds. Contador, who won the Tirreno-Adriatico earlier this month, finished second and American Tejay Van Garderen was third, seven seconds behind. Quintana finished in fifth, 10 seconds back.

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