Alejandro Valverde completed his hat-trick of stage victories at the Ruta del Sol this afternoon as he won atop the first-category Sierra de Cabra climb at the end of the race’s queen stage.
Valverde sprinted to claim the victory from a five-man group, with Luis Leon Sanchez (Caja Rural) and Michele Scarponi (Astana) completing the top three.
Sky’s Richie Porte came fifth, as once again he couldn’t finish off the hard work his team-mates had put in for him.
Edvald Boasson Hagen, Vasil Kiryienka, Pete Kennaugh and Geraint Thomas all pulled hard for the Australian in the final 10 kilometres leading to today’s finish, but after last man Thomas peeled off with 500m remaining, Porte never looked like distancing his rivals.
However, he maintains his second place overall, but is now 20 seconds behind Spanish race leader Valverde, who has won the race for the past two years.
Ruta del Sol 2014, stage two: La Guardia de Jaen – Sierra de Cabra, 197.1km
1. Alejandro Valverde (Spa) Movistar in 5-02-53
2. Luis Leon Sanchez (Spa) Caja Rural at 0-01
3. Daniel Navarro (Spa) Cofidis
4. Michele Scarponi (Ita) Astana
5. Richie Porte (Aus) Team Sky all at st.
6. Thomas Degand (Bel) Wanty Groupe Goubert at 0-05
7. Bauke Mollema (Ned) Belkin
8. Tanel Kangert (Est) Astana all at st.
9. Marcos Garcia (Spa) Caja Rural at 0-09
10. Ruben Plaza (Spa) Movistar at st.
Overall classification after stage two:
1. Alejandro Valverde (Spa) Movistar in 10-20-12
2. Richie Porte (Aus) Team Sky at 0-20
3. Luis Leon Sanchez (Spa) Caja Rural at 0-22
4. Tanel Kangert (Est) Astana at 0-43
5. Bauke Mollema (Ned) Belkin at 0-44
6. Thomas Degand (Bel) Wanty Groupe Goubert at 0-51
7. Daniel Navarro (Spa) Cofidis at 0-55
8. Michele Scarponi (Ita) Astana at 1-02
9. Luis Angel Mate (Spa) Cofidis at 1-24
10. Marcos Garcia (Spa) Caja Rural at 1-27
Tour de France champion Chris Froome heads to the Tour of Oman, with Bradley Wiggins riding in the Ruta del
Ruta del Sol 2013, stage four: Alejandro Valverde wins final stage and takes overall victory in the Ruta del Sol