Richie Porte (Sky) fended off some tentative attacks from his GC rivals to seal the overall victory at the Tour of Catalunya.
The win continues the Australian’s superb start to the season, following his Paris-Nice victory earlier this month.
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Alejandro Valverde (Movistar) won the stage in a reduced bunch sprint, ahead of Bryan Cocquard (Europcar) and yesterday’s winner Sergei Chernetski (Katusha)
His Movistar team had worked for much of the day, and appeared to have the GC in sights. Going into the day in fourth place, sixteen seconds down on Porte, Valverde managed to claim two bonus seconds at the start of the day.
On the climb prior to his attack, all of the riders at the top of the GC massed round the stage, threatening to challenge Porte’s overall leadership. But he was very well marshalled by teammate David Lopez, and the expected attacks failed to come into fruition.
The bonus seconds gained on the line were, however, enough to move Valverde up into second overall, pushing Domenico Pozzovivo (Ag2r) down into second and Alberto Contador (Tinkoff-Saxo) off the podium.
Prior to the bunch sprint, it had looked as though Dan Martin (Cannondale-Garmin) would hang on for the win. He attacked with just over 2km to go and managed to build a big gap quickly – somewhat surprisingly, as he had already used up some energy with an attack on the previous lap.
Good work from Jose Joaquim Rojas bridged the gap with just a few hundred metres to go, and he subsequently set his Movistar teammate up perfectly for the sprint win.
The break of the day consisted of David Arroyo (Caja Rural-Seguros RGA), Walter Pedraza (Colombia) and Marek Rutkiewicz (CCC-Sprandi-Polkowice), who never threatened to make it to the finish and were caught before the tense final climb.