Bradley Wiggins retains red jersey in Vuelta as Albasini wins stage

Bradley Wiggins
Wiggins is competing in his first even since breaking his collarbone at the Tour de France

Britain's Bradley Wiggins has retained the red jersey in the Vuelta a Espana after safely completing the 13th stage.

Switzerland's Michael Albasini won the stage from Sarria to Ponferrada, while Wiggins did enough to maintain a lead of four seconds.

Wiggins, 31, is using the Vuelta to prepare for the time-trial at the road World Championships in Copenhagen.

The Team Sky rider finished 26th to keep a seven-second gap over team-mate Christopher Froome who is in third.

Wiggins said after the stage: "I'm pretty relaxed about how things went today and it was another good performance from the team.

"Yes, [Vincenzo] Nibali made up six seconds by attacking on that first descent and winning the sprint, but I didn't see the point in wasting energy unnecessarily and taking big risks just to try and defend a few seconds.

"Fair credit to him for having a go, but I don't think the race will have been won or lost today - the time gains or losses in the mountains days to come are going play a much bigger role in how this race is decided.

"I'm really happy to still be in the jersey though, and it's a huge honour to be able to pull it on each morning and as I've said before, we'll be doing all we can to defend it to Madrid."

Second behind HTC-Highroad rider Albasini in the small bunch sprint that decided the 158.2 km mountainous stage was Italy's Eros Capecchi with Spain's Dani Moreno coming in third.

Albasini was part of a 27-man breakaway that took off in the first hour of racing. Wiggins finished in the main pack one minute 33 seconds behind.

Wiggins, a triple Olympic gold medallist, is competing in his first event since sustaining a broken collarbone at the Tour de France earlier this summer.

He also came fourth in the Tour de France two years ago.

The Vuelta continues on Saturday with a 172.8-km run from Astorga to La Farrapona.

Result and overall standings after the 158.2km 13th stage of the Tour of Spain from Sarria to Ponferrada:

1. Michael Albasini (SWI/HTC) 4 hrs 19 min 39secs

2. Eros Capecchi (ITA/LIQ) Same time

3. Daniel Moreno (SPA/KAT)

4. David De la Fuente (SPA/GEO)

5. Nicolas Roche (EIR/ALM)

6. Oliver Zaugg (SWI/LEO)

7. Angel Madrazo (SPA/MOV)

8. David Blanco (SPA/GEO)

9. Mikel Nieve (SPA/EUS)

10. Marc De Maar (NED/QST)

Overall standings:

1. Bradley Wiggins (GBR/SKY) 51 hrs 14 min 59secs

2. Vincenzo Nibali (ITA/LIQ) +4"

3. Chris Froome (GBR/SKY) +7"

4. Fredrik Kessiakoff (SWE/AST) +9"

5. Jakob Diemer Fuglsang (DEN/LEO) +19"

6. Bauke Mollema (NED/RAB) +36"

7. Maxime Monfort (BEL/LEO) +1:04"

8. Juan Jose Cobo Acebo (SPA/GEO) +1:27"

9. Daniel Moreno (SPA/KAT) +1:52"

10. Haimar Zubeldia (SPA/RSH) +1:53"