BELLUNO, Italy (AP) — Alberto Contador won a mountain time trial Tuesday to increase his commanding overall lead in the Giro d'Italia, dedicating it to deceased Spanish rider Xavier Tondo.
Tondo died in an accident Monday after he was crushed between his car and a garage door in southern Spain.
Contador pointed a finger to the sky during the post-stage award ceremony.
"I really wanted to win today," the three-time Tour de France winner said. "He was a good friend and this victory is for him."
Contador clocked 28 minutes, 55 seconds over the 7.9-mile 16th stage from Belluno to Nevegal. Italians Vincenzo Nibali and Michele Scarponi finished second and third, 34 and 38 seconds behind, respectively.
In the overall standings, Contador leads Scarponi by 4 minutes, 58 seconds, with Nibali 5:45 back.
There was a minute's silence observed before the first rider started to honor Tondo, and Nibali recalled riding against the Spaniard en route to winning last year's Spanish Vuelta.
"Tondo was one of my rivals at the Vuelta," Nibali said. "He was somebody you could joke around with and beyond being a rival he was also a friend."
The opening three miles of Tuesday's stage were fairly flat, the road went uphill significantly, with the final 2.8 miles at an average gradient of 10 percent, with a maximum of 14 percent.
Nibali led at the midway point, but Contador accelerated on the uphill section.
"Contador was really a Martian today," Nibali said. "I thought I had a really great performance. ... But I'm second behind Alberto Contador, so I'm more than pleased."
The 17th stage Wednesday is a 143-mile leg from Feltre to Tirano, including a major climb over the Tonale pass and a smaller climb over the Aprica pass.
The three-week race ends Sunday in Milan.
Eight days after the Giro ends, Contador faces a hearing before the Court of Arbitration for Sport into his positive test for clenbuterol during last year's Tour.
Contador maintains that contaminated beef caused the positive test. The UCI and WADA are challenging his acquittal on doping charges by Spanish authorities in February.
Contador maintains he's not thinking about the CAS verdict.
"I'm thinking about the fans, not the CAS or other cases linked to (Lance) Armstrong," Contador said. "I'm thinking about all those people who — whether it's hot or cold, rainy or sunny — are always there to encourage me and applaud the pack."
However, not all fans at the Giro have been supporting Contador. Some spectators blamed Contador for the elimination of the dangerous Crostis descent from Saturday's stage, and he has been whistled at along the route on occasion.
Faustino Munoz, Contador's mechanic with the Saxo Bank squad, was expelled from the race for opening his car door and hitting a spectator during the time trial. Also, Saxo Bank manager Philippe Mauduit was fined $227 for the incident.