Valverde wins Vuelta stage seven as Lopez regains red jersey

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Alejandro Valverde edged out Primoz Roglic on the gruelling Alto Mas de la Costa to win stage seven of the Vuelta a Espana, while Astana's Miguel Angel Lopez retook the red jersey from Dylan Teuns.

Former champion Valverde, 39, was in fighting mood pre-race, calling Friday's section an "opportunity" for Movistar and he rolled back the years to take the win with a late surge after patiently biding his time.

The Spaniard followed team-mate Nairo Quintana's attack with 3.2 kilometres remaining and powered away from the Colombian, Roglic and Lopez with just under 150 metres to go.

Lopez crossed the line third at the end of the 183.2km route and consequently regained the red jersey, having lost it to Teuns on Thursday - the Belgian dropping eight minutes off the pace as a result of his disappointing day.

The Astana rider holds a six-second lead over Roglic in the general classification, with Valverde a further 10 seconds back in third.

A crash on stage six brought an end to the race for four riders and, although there was no such drama on Friday, Tejay van Garderen dropped out after approximately 50km having been injured when running wide a day earlier.

 

VALVERDE IN QUINTANA TRIBUTE

Although Valverde ended the day victorious, he was quick to remember the efforts of Quintana – who moved to the top of the points classification – on the final ascent, which included gradients as steep as 25 per cent.

"I have to thank Nairo for making a really hard ascent," Valverde told reporters.

"He tried to distance our rivals, Roglic and 'Superman' [Lopez], but they were really strong too. We kept at it and fortunately I came away with the win."

 

STAGE RESULT

1. Alejandro Valverde (Movistar) 04:34:11
2. Primoz Roglic (Jumbo-Visma) +00:00
3. Miguel Angel Lopez (Astana) +00:06
4. Nairo Quintana (Movistar) +00:06
5. Rafal Majka (Bora-Hansgrohe) +00:42

CLASSIFICATION STANDINGS

General Classification

1. Miguel Angel Lopez (Astana) 28:19:13
2. Primoz Roglic (Jumbo-Visma) +00:06
3. Alejandro Valverde (Movistar) +00:16

Points Classification

1. Nairo Quintana (Movistar) 50
2. Primoz Roglic (Jumbo-Visma) 48
3. Sam Bennett (Bora-Hansgrohe) 45

King of the Mountains

1. Angel Madrazo (Burgos BH) 29
2. Sergio Henao (UAE Team Emirates) 17
3. Alejandro Valverde (Movistar) 16

WHAT'S NEXT?

Following three successive days of nasty climbs, Saturday's stage eight should be a little less brutal. The 166.9km route begins in Valls and ends at Igualada, with just one categorised climb at a gradient of 6.6 per cent.