Volta a Catalunya: Alejandro Valverde beats Chris Froome in stage five climb

Alejandro Valverde
Valverde had started the day in fourth place overall

Spain's Alejandro Valverde won a thrilling fifth stage ahead of rivals Chris Froome and Alberto Contador to take the lead at the Volta a Catalunya.

Movistar's Valverde left his rivals behind with a superb burst on the steep climb to the finish in Tortosa.

Team Sky's Froome, the Tour de France champion, beat Contador to the line for second place and trails Valverde by 21 seconds with two stages remaining.

Welshman Geraint Thomas of Team Sky came in 14th and lies seventh overall.

American Tejay van Garderen, the leader going into Friday's stage, dropped to sixth place overall.

Valverde broke clear in the final two kilometres of the 182km mountain stage from Valls to Lo Port to finish 13 seconds ahead of Froome and Spaniard Contador.

The 2009 winner also won stage three on Wednesday, after he and his Movistar team-mates were each penalised one minute penalty for illegal pushing during Tuesday's team time trial.

Stage Five result:

1. Alejandro Valverde (Spa/Movistar) 4hrs 14mins 52secs

2. Chris Froome (GB/Team Sky) +13secs

3. Alberto Contador (Spa/Trek) Same time

4. Marc Soler (Spa/Movistar) +25secs

5. Adam Yates (GB/Orica) +32secs

6. Daniel Martin (Ire/Quick-Step) +46secs

7. David Gaudu (Fra/FDJ) +58secs

8. Hugh Carthy (GB Cannondale) +1min 04secs

9. Jakob Fuglsang (Den/Astana) +1min 11secs

10. Steven Kruijswijk (Ned/LottoNL) Same time

General classification:

1. Alejandro Valverde (Spa/Movistar) 17hrs 44mins 27secs

2. Chris Froome (GB/Team Sky) +21sec

3. Alberto Contador (Spa/Trek) +47secs

4. Marc Soler (Spa/Movistar) +1min

5. Adam Yates (GB/Orica) +1 min 15secs

6. Tejay van Garderen (US/BMC Racing) +1min 18secs

7. Geraint Thomas (GB/Team Sky) +1min 34secs

8. Samuel Sanchez (Spa/BMC Racing) +1min 59secs

9. Daniel Martin (Ire/Quick-Step) +2mins 13secs

10. Steven Kruijswijk (Ned/LottoNL) +2mins 40secs

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