April 17, 2011 Spanish rider Xavier Tondo won the Tour of Castilla y Leon on Sunday after Britain's Ben Swift won the fifth and final stage, a 167.7km ride round Medina del Campo. Spain's controversial three-time Tour de France champion Alberto Contador - a two-time winner this season - finished in 24th place overall, nearly three minutes adrift of Tondo.
Tondo, 32, laid the foundations for his triumph in the third and fourth stages, which had been highlighted by defending champion Contador as the keys to who eventually finished in the overall winner's grey jersey.
Tondo finished fifth in the third stage, a mountain one which saw Contador's hopes dented by two punctures, and then third in the time-trial, only three seconds off the winning time of Contador.
"I was really desperate to win once again a tour title," said Tondo, whose last tour win came in the 2007 Tour of Portugal. Contador - who had won the Tour of Murcia and the Tour of Catalonia earlier this season - had been hindered, in a crucial race in his build-up to the Tour of Italy not only by the punctures but also a cold.
"I am going to try and rediscover my form as fast as possible," said Contador. "The Tour of Castilla y Leon is a good race but I haven't any luck that day in the mountains with those punctures."
Contador is racing under threat of a ban from the World Anti-Doping Agency (WADA) and/or the International Cycling Union (UCI) following a positive test for trace amounts of clenbuterol during last July's Tour de France, where he claimed his third victory in the race.
He was cleared to compete in February when the Spanish Cycling Federation (RFEC) rescinded an initial decision to hand down a one-year competition ban. It accepted the rider's claim that he had unknowingly consumed drug-contaminated meat and was therefore not negligent.
The UCI and WADA announced separately last month they plan to appeal to the Court of Arbitration for Sport (CAS) in Lausanne over the acquittal.
April 17, 2011 - Results from Tour of Castilla y Leon on Sunday following the fifth and final stage, a 167.7km ride round Medina del Campo:
1. Ben Swift (GBR) Sky 3hr 30min 00sec
2. Francisco Ventoso (ESP) Movistar same time
3. Ruben Perez (ESP) Euskaltel s.t.
4. Theo Bos (NED) Rabobank s.t.
5. Manuel Belletti (ITA) Colnago s.t.
83. Alberto Contador (ESP) Saxo Bank at 15sec
1. Xavier Tondo (ESP) Movistar 17hr 01min 40sec
2. Bauke Mollema (NED) Rabobank at 9sec
3. Igor Anton (ESP) Euskaltel 17
4. Domenico Pozzovivo (ITA) Colnago 40
5. Jerome Coppel (FRA) Saur 47.
24. Alberto Contador (ESP) Saxo Bank at 2min 52sec afp