Purito powers to stage win and opens gap on main rivals

Spaniard crossed the line first at the summit finish on Fuerte de Rapitán in Jaca

Purito Rodríguez celebrates his stage win on Thursday.
Purito Rodríguez celebrates his stage win on Thursday.DANI SANCHEZ (DIARIO AS)

Joaquim “Purito” Rodríguez extended his overall lead in the Vuelta a España on Thursday, claiming Stage 6 of the race ahead of his main rivals. Purito crossed the line first at the summit finish on Fuerte de Rapitán in Jaca after a 174-kilometer medium mountain stage that began in Tarazona.

Purito assumed ownership of the red jersey after Stage 4, which also featured a summit finish, after then-race leader Alejandro Valverde lost valuable seconds in a multi-rider collision. Going into Stage 5 the Katusha racer had a one-second lead over Sky’s Chris Froome and a five-second advantage on Alberto Contador, of Saxo Bank.

Lead extended

On Thursday, Purito finished five seconds ahead of the Briton and 10 seconds better off than Valverde, who was third in the stage. Contador crossed the line 18 seconds after his compatriot in fourth. In the general classification after Stage 6 Purito had puffed his cushion to 10 seconds over Froome and 35 seconds over Contador, who lies third. Valverde clawed his way back up to sixth overall. Froome’s teammate Rigoberto Urán and Rabobank’s Robert Gesink complete the top five in the general classification overnight.

Stage 7 returns to the flat between Jaca and Alcañiz before the Vuelta heads into Andorra on Saturday, a stage that features a category 2 climb before a summit finish on the 580-meter Collado de la Gallina.

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