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Friday 18 April 2014

Nicolas Roche slips to second place in the Vuelta

Nicolas Roche
Nicolas Roche

Spaniard Daniel Moreno claimed the leader's red jersey in the Vuelta a Espana on Sunday after he won the ninth stage between Antequera and Valdepenas de Jaen.

Nicolas Roche (Team Saxo-Tinkoff) had held the red jersey overnight but Moreno now leads by just one second following his latest win.

The Team Katusha rider led home a Spanish trio at the end of the 163.7km stage, collecting his second stage win of the grand tour having already succeeded on stage four.

Alejandro Valverde Belmonte and Joaquim Rodriguez Oliver finished four seconds shy of their compatriot Moreno, who burst clear in the closing stages of the uphill finish to collect the 10 seconds he needed for the victory with a provisional finishing time of four hours, 18 minutes and 57 seconds.

Coupled with his eight-second lead over Roche, who finished fourth in Valdepenas de Jaen, the 31-year-old has moved to the top of the general classification.

Roche was relaxed about losing the race lead that he had managed to defend for just one day.

"I'm one second behind, so it's not that bad, there's time to get it back. Finishing fourth on a climb like that is a sign my legs are in good shape," the Saxo-Tinkoff rider said.

"Yesterday when I took the lead was such a great day that I won't forget, and I hope on tomorrow's climb I'll be able to get that second back on Moreno."

Moreno will be heartened by his stage win, adding to the one already secured on Wednesday, with 11 stages remaining before the final flat stage to Madrid on September 15.

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