Radioshack-Nissan's Daniele Bennati of Italy.

Valladolid, Spain – Italy's Daniele Bennati won stage 18 of the Vuelta a Espana, from Aguilar del Campo on Thursday, while Spain's Alberto Contador held on to the overall lead.

Britain's Ben Swift finished a close second behind RadioShack-Nissan rider Bennati in the bunch sprint that decided the flat, 204.5-km stage.

Bennati dedicated his win to Belgian Wouter Weylandt, the previous winner of a Vuelta stage in Valladolid, who died in a crash during the 2011 Giro d'Italia.

Contador stayed in the overall lead with three stages of the race remaining, with Spain's Alejandor Valverde in second and compatriot Joaquim Rodriguez in third. – Reuters