Spaniard Egoi Martinez of Euskaltel took the overall lead after Belgian rider Greg van Avermaet of the Silence team won the ninth stage of the Tour of Spain on Monday, a 200.8km ride between Viella and Sabiñánigo.
Van Avermaet won out after joining a dozen-strong breakaway and edged out Davide Rebellin of Italy and Spaniard Juan Antonio Flecha in a sprint finish.
Martinez, who was also in the mix in the dash for the line, took the leader's golden jersey off previous holder Levi Leipheimer as he picked up sufficient bonus seconds from the stage.
The peloton tried to force its collective way back in over the final few kilometres but they were unable to close an eight-minute intermediate gap and the leading group ended more than six minutes clear.
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© AFP & BikeRadar 2008