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Defending champion Arnold Alcolea claimed his rightful position as leader and yellow jersey wearer at the 35th Vuelta a Cuba cycling tour after winning this Tuesday the 8th stage.

Alcolea is the defending champion.

The Cuban rider had to overcome many challenges during this, the hardest stage in the cycling tour, to reach the top, but still needs to face many others to repeat last year’s feature.

Alcolea staged a tremendous duel in the mainly escalating stage with his main rival in this, Venezuelan Jose Alarcon, who remained all the time trying to force the local to concede, and even though he finally got to win, the Cuban is the new leader.

  I had to ride around the fallen cyclist in Trinidad and I took off from the main group.

Before the climb I thought for a moment, that I could not get where he was (Alarcon), said Alcolea.

 But I trust myself and with great effort and the help from my teammates I finally caught up with him and we finished together, he said.

  I could not finish him off. I had the energy to do it but my rear tire was skidding, so I settled for second in the stage and the top individual overall, he said.

Alarcon is a good runner, a climber, and I was always aware of him, because he knew I was going for the yellow jersey. We were two rivals who were going for our best today, commented Alcolea on the efforts of both.

 Now the strategy is to keep the jersey until we get to the Capitol of Havana next Sunday, he said. Alcolea now tops the list of riders of the contest, and after him Alarcon, 37 seconds behind, and Cuban Yenier Lopez, at 1.22 minutes.


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