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Intxausti wins 16th Giro stage, Nibali still leads

 Spain's Benat Intxausti celebrates as he crosses the finish line to win the 16th stage of the Giro d'Italia, Tour of Italy cycling race, from Valloir...
 Cyclists pedal during the 16th stage of the Giro d'Italia, Tour of Italy cycling race, from Valloire, France, to Ivrea, Italy, Tuesday, May 21, 2013....
 The pack pedals through mountain landscape during the 16th stage of the Giro d'Italia, Tour of Italy cycling race, from Valloire, France, to Ivrea, I...

Italy Cycling Giro

Spain's Benat Intxausti celebrates as he crosses the finish line to win the 16th stage of the Giro d'Italia, Tour of Italy cycling race, from Valloir...

Italy Cycling Giro

Cyclists pedal during the 16th stage of the Giro d'Italia, Tour of Italy cycling race, from Valloire, France, to Ivrea, Italy, Tuesday, May 21, 2013....

APTOPIX Italy Cycling Giro

The pack pedals through mountain landscape during the 16th stage of the Giro d'Italia, Tour of Italy cycling race, from Valloire, France, to Ivrea, I...

Benat Intxausti of Spain won the 16th stage of the Giro d'Italia on Tuesday, and favorite Vincenzo Nibali retained the overall lead as the race entered the final week.
Intxausti won in a time of 5 hours, 52 minutes, 48 seconds, along the hilly 238 kilometers (148 miles) from Valloire, France, to Ivrea beating Tanel Kangert and Przemyslaw Niemiec in a final sprint.
Nibali, who finished third and second in his last two Giro d'Italia races, maintained his lead of 1 minute, 26 seconds over Cadel Evans and remains firmly on course to win his country's biggest cycling race for the first time.
Mauro Santambrogio started the day fourth but lost more than two minutes to slip to sixth.
Taylor Phinney was forced to retire midway through the stage due to saddle sores. The American had hoped for a stage win, while also working for team leader Evans.
Monday was a rest day following two tough mountain stages in atrocious weather conditions.
The stage started in France and, following several early attacks, a group of 16 finally broke away to climb Mont Cenis and build a lead of three minutes. The group increased to 22 riders as they crossed back into Italy after 78 kilometers (48.5 miles).
The leading group held an advantage of more than five minutes, but the peloton upped its pace and the gap started dropping rapidly with 65 kilometers (40 miles) remaining.
Several riders tried to attack from the front of the lead group but they were caught as the advantage over the peloton continued to fall.
Wilco Kelderman, Emanuele Sella and Danny Pate led by more than 1 1/2 minutes heading into Ivrea, ahead of the circuit around the town and the final climb. They were caught by a group of five with 25 kilometers (15.5 miles) to go.
Carlos Betancur attacked 18 kilometers (11 miles) from the finish as he rode the final climb up to Andrate, but that sparked a chase from Nibali followed by most of the other favorites.
There were several small attacks at the front, but nothing significant until Niemiec, Kangert, Intxausti and Robert Gesink carved out a small advantage.
However, disaster stuck for Gesink 1.8 kilometers (1.12 miles) out as he dropped back with a mechanical problem, leaving the other three to battle it out.
They watched each other closely as they approached the finish. Niemec was the first to attack, but he made his move too early and was swiftly passed down the left by Intxausti, who held off Kangert.
Wednesday's 17th stage is a flat 254 kilometers (158 miles) from Busseto to Cherasco. It could be ideal for Mark Cavendish _ who celebrated his 28th birthday on Tuesday _ to claim a fifth victory in this year's race.
The Giro ends May 26 in Brescia.