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Career first in mountains

SUPER-BESSE, France — Rui Alberto Costa won the eighth stage of the Tour de France after withstanding a late attack from Philippe Gilbert in the final climb Saturday, and Thor Hushovd kept the overall leader's yellow jersey.

Costa, from Portugal, waved his hands in delight and punched the air as he crossed the line in 4 hours, 36 minutes, 46 seconds to clinch the first Tour stage win of his career.

"I knew I could get in the breakaway (Saturday). The team put me in the best position," Costa said. "I was lucky that I managed to hold on until the end. I'm very happy with this win.

"I attacked on my own at the end. I saw that my legs were good and that I could hold it alone. When it got to (1.2 miles) from the end, I really worked hard and managed to reach my objective."

The race entered the mountains for the first time in the 117-mile trek from Aigurande to Super-Besse. Gilbert of Belgium made up a huge amount of time before crossing 12 seconds adrift, with Cadel Evans finishing 15 seconds behind Costa in third place.

American Chris Horner pulled out of the Tour, a day after breaking his nose and sustaining a concussion in a crash. RadioShack team spokesman Philippe Maertens said Horner, who also hurt his right calf muscle, would spend the weekend in a hospital.

.FAST FACTS

Tour de France

Saturday: A 117.5-mile trek from Aigurande to the Super-Besse ski resort, won by Rui Alberto Costa, who took part in a breakaway that started after 5 miles. He finished 12 seconds ahead of Philippe Gilbert.

Yellow jersey: Thor Hushovd retained the overall lead by finishing with the main contenders. He had a 1-second advantage over Cadel Evans.

Today: 129 miles from Issoire to Saint-Flour, with a roller coaster profile.

TV: 8 a.m., Versus

Career first in mountains 07/09/11 [Last modified: Saturday, July 9, 2011 6:45pm]
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