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Przeymyslaw Niemiec reflects on stage 15 win at the Vuelta a Espana

Przemyslaw Niemiec was delighted after he held on for a brave win in stage 15 of the Vuelta a Espana on Sunday.

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The Lampre-Merida rider was part of an early break and did just enough to win the 152.2-kilometre stage from Oviedo to Lagos de Covadonga.

Niemiec finished just five seconds ahead of Alejandro Valverde (Movistar) and Joaquin Rodriguez (Katusha).

"It is an incredibly happy day for me," Niemiec said.

"In the morning meeting we had thought about resting for tomorrow's stage, but once I was in the breakaway I saw we had quite an advantage and everyone was working together to get to the end."

Alberto Contador remains the race leader, but he did lose five seconds on fellow Spaniard Valverde.

But while Valverde drew closer, the third-placed Chris Froome (Team Sky) lost seven seconds to Contador.

And Contador wished he could have done more to exploit the gap between the two.

"It was perhaps a bit of shame to not open up the distance more on Froome because with a rider of that quality you always have to try and have as much of a gap as possible," he said.

"I think Froome is the strongest rival I have come across in my whole career.

"Maybe in this tour he is finding it a bit harder, but given the quality he has you always have to have the maximum respect and never count him out."

Monday's action sees riders race from San Martin del Rey Aurelio to La Farrapona Lago de Somiedo over a gruelling 160.5km that features five climbs. The event's second rest day will follow.

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