Sun, Aug 31, 2014 - Page 18 News List

De Marchi breaks clear to win stage

Reuters, BARCELONA, Spain

Italian cyclist Alessandro de Marchi celebrates as he crosses the finish line to win the seventh stage of the La Vuelta a Espana in Alcaudete, Spain, on Friday.

Photo: AFP

Italian Alessandro de Marchi broke clear with 12km to go to win the seventh stage of the La Vuelta a Espana on Friday, while home rider Alejandro Valverde kept the overall lead.

De Marchi finished 1 minute, 35 seconds ahead of Canadian Ryder Hesjedal (Garmin-Sharp). Frenchman Hubert Dupont was third in the same time.

“This is the best moment of my career,” the Cannondale rider told reporters after winning with a time of 4 hours, 1 minute, 52 seconds.

Sky’s Chris Froome, one of the favorites to win the race, fell before the first climb, but suffered nothing more than a few cuts and was able to return to the peloton.

The Briton sprinted to the line and is fourth overall, 19 seconds behind Valverde (Movistar), who was ninth in Friday’s stage.

Colombian Nairo Quintana is second overall, 15 seconds off the pace and 3 seconds ahead of Spain’s Alberto Contador.

“We heard that Froome had fallen, but we made sure that there were no attacks. In no way did we try to leave Froome behind as you have to have respect,” Valverde told reporters.

Following the first of eight summit finishes on Thursday, the race favorites focused on consolidation on a smoother course that provided an opportunity for the sprinters.

However, there were still ups and downs plus a 5km climb to the finish in Alcaudete.

With 70km to go there was a breakaway by Hesjedal, Dupont, Swiss Johann Tschopp and De Marchi.

Hesjedal looked strong, but fell with 16km remaining before staging a recovery.

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