Three-time world champ Freire wins 11th stage of Vuelta

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Three-time world champion Oscar Freire won the 11th stage of the Spanish Vuelta on Wednesday, with Egoi Martinez retaining the overall lead for the third straight day.

The 178-kilometre leg from Calaharra to Burgos suited the sprinters as Rabobank's Freire edged fellow specialist Tom Boonen of Belgium and Argentina's Juan Jose Haedo. The Spaniard finished in four hours 19 minutes 28 seconds.

QuickStep's Boonen and Haedo of Team CSC finished in the same time along with German sprint specialist Erik Zabel of Team Milram in fourth place.

Martinez, a Spaniard who rides for Euskaltel-Euskadi, kept his 11-second lead in the standings over American rider Levi Leipheimer of Astana. Alberto Contador, the 2007 Tour de France winner, is third - 32 seconds behind Martinez.

The season's third major race - after the Tour de France and Giro d'Italia - finishes in Madrid on Sept. 21. There are 10 stages left. (The Associated Press) (from Broadcast News Ltd.)

AP-NY-09-10-08 1309EDT