LA ZUBIA, Spain, Aug 28, 2014 (AFP) – Alejandro Valverde leads the Tour of
Spain after producing a supreme final climb to win a star-laden finish to the
167.1km sixth stage from Benalmadena to La Zubia on Thursday.
The Spaniard beat Britain’s Chris Froome and compatriot Alberto Contador
into second and third respectively to take the overall race lead from
Australian Michael Matthews.
Valverde leads his Movistar teammate Nairo Quintana by 15 seconds in the
general classification with Contador third, 18 seconds back and Froome a
further four seconds behind in fourth.
“My legs are feeling very good and I am obviously delighted to win today,”
The Movistar duo moved to the front of the leading group with two
kilometres of a 4.7km category one climb to the finish.
However, Quintana was left behind as Joaquim ‘Purito’ Rodriguez attacked
with just under a kilometre left and was followed by Valverde, Froome and
“I had a good rhythm with Nairo at the front and when Purito went I decided
to follow him. Luckily I was able to win the race.
“Nairo is still there and more mountain stages to come. We are in a good
position at the moment and hopefully that will continue.”
Both Froome and Contador showed no ill effects of the injuries that forced
them to retire from the Tour de France last month in the first real test of
their chances to win the race.
Contador had previously insisted that he wasn’t fit enough to challenge for
victory in the general classification, but admitted to being pleasantly
surprised with his performance in the first week.
“Alejandro has won, but this is like a victory for me,” said Contador, who
won the Tour of Spain in 2008 and 2012.
“I couldn’t have imagined being in the first three and I nearly won the
“I need to go day-by-day, that has to be my philosophy and if I can win
then great, but I think there are riders here that have been preparing a long
time for this race and I am just a little bit off that.”