Spain's Juan Jose Cobo of the Fuji-Servetto team won Stage 4 of the Tour of Castilla y Leon Thursday, while US rider Levi Leipheimer maintained his overall lead.
Leipheimer finished the 145.4-kilometre run from Santa Maria del Paramo and Laguna de los Peces eighth at nine seconds back from the winner and is all but certain to secure victory with just one stage left in the five-day race across northern Spain.
He was helped by his Astana teammate Alberto Contador, the 2007 Tour de France winner, who worked to protect Leipheimer's lead and remains in second place overall.
Leipheimer won his third straight Tour of California in January. The race ends Friday with a 152.4-kilometre stage from Benavente to Valladolid.
Seven-time Tour de France champion Lance Armstrong crashed out on Monday after fracturing his collarbone in a multi-bike spill.
2009 Vuelta Castilla y Leon Stage 4 Final Kilometers
For complete results, visit Cyclingnews.com.
Coppi e Bartali: Cunego wins again, takes lead
Damiano Cunego won his second stage in a row to take the overall lead in the Coppi e Bartali race following Thursday's 163.4km fourth stage from Borgo San Lorenzo to Serramazzoni.
Lampre rider Cunego outsprinted Australian Cadel Evans to take the leader's pink jersey from Italian countryman Giovanni Visconti.
The day's racing was marked by a break from Kanstantin Siutsou, Felix Cardenas and Enrico Rossi but they were caught 10km from home.
With 1km left Evans made a bid for home on a steep climb but Cunego caught him and pipped him to the post.
Friday's fifth and penultimate stage takes the riders from Massa Finalese to Finale Emilia over 178km.
For complete results and photos, visit Cyclingnews.com.
© BikeRadar & AFP 2009