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Heras Retains Tour of Spain Lead

September 27, 2002

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AVILA, Spain (AP) _ Roberto Heras of the U.S. Postal team held onto his minute-plus lead in the Tour of Spain on Friday, despite a challenge from second-place Aitor Gonzalez in the 19th stage.

Gonzalez shaved four seconds off Heras’ lead, reducing it to 1:08.

The leg was won by Jose Vicente Garcia Acosta, who rumbled over cobblestone streets into the walled city of Avila all by himself in a time of 4 hours, 24 minutes and 27 seconds.

After Saturday’s stage, the race should come down to Sunday’s 25-mile time trial in Madrid. Gonzalez specializes in time trials, and he beat Heras by 1 minute, 34 seconds in the last one, the 10th stage in Valencia.

Garcia Acosta made his move as part of a group of nine riders who broke away early when the race hit its first mountain of the day, the Hoya pass.

Acosta took control by streaking down the Serranillos slope by himself, building up a two-minute lead and keeping up a fast pace to hold on for the win.

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