Valverde climbs to victory in Tour stage
PEYRAGUDES, France - Agence France-PresseSpain’s Alejandro Valverde claimed a stylish solo victory in the 17th stage of the Tour de France after a frantic finish to the final day in the mountains yesterday.
It was the Movistar rider’s fourth career victory on the race, and his first since 2008.
Race leader Bradley Wiggins came over the finish line of the 143.5 km stage between Bagneres-de-Luchon and Peyragudes on the wheel of Sky teammate Chris Froome at around 18secs later.
The pair had led a frantic chase of Valverde on the day’s fifth and last climb but Valverde, who had broken away from an early escape group on the Col de Peyresourde, dug deep to hold off the British challengers.
Froome’s pace, however, did some more damage to Sky’s yellow jersey rivals with Italian Vincenzo Nibali trailing home around 18secs further adrift.
Defending champion Cadel
Evans, who lost nearly five minutes to Wiggins on Wednesday’s 16th stage to drop to seventh overall, lost more time after struggling to hold the pace inside the final few kilometres.
Wiggins will go into today’s 18th stage from Blagnac to Brive-La-Gaillarde with his 2:05 lead on Froome intact.