GENEVA — Nairo Quintana protected his overall lead to win the Tour of Romandie on Sunday after a final stage won by race specialist Michael Albasini.
Colombian Quintana rode safely in the pack to keep his 19-second lead over Thibaut Pinot of France. Jon Izagirre of Spain was third.
The Romandie race is a proven Tour de France trial and Quintana, a two-time runner-up, is targeting cycling’s biggest prize in July. His six-day Romandie victory followed the seven-day Tour of Catalonia title he won in March.
Albasini was strongest in a four-rider break that finished the flat 177-kilometer (110-mile) ride into Geneva barely ahead of the pack.
The 35-year-old Swiss edged Andrey Amador of Costa Rica and third-placed Wilco Kelderman of the Netherlands to get his sixth Romandie stage win since 2014.
GENT, Belgium (AP) Olympic road champion Greg Van Avermaet won his second race in three days Sunday, beating fellow Belgian Jens Keukeleire in a two-man sprint finish to take the Gent-Wevelgem classic.
World champion Peter Sagan of Slovakia, who won last year’s race, finished third.
The 249-kilometer (154.7-mile) race through Belgium included two ascents of the steep, cobbled Kemmelberg hill, one of the iconic climbs of the spring classics season.
Last year’s race was overshadowed by the death of Belgian rider Antoine Demoitie after a fall.
Sagan fell Friday in the E3 Harelbeke, which Van Avermaet also won to add to his victory last month in Het Nieuwsblad.
BARCELONA, Spain (AP) Alejandro Valverde of Spain won his second Tour of Catalonia on Sunday.
Valverde secured the victory by finishing first in the 139-kilometer (86-mile) seventh stage, perfectly timing his final sprint at a hilltop overlooking Barcelona.
He finished the weeklong race more than one minute ahead of Alberto Contador and Marc Soler, who closed out the all-Spanish podium.
Valverde won despite receiving a one-minute time penalty Wednesday after race officials ruled that some Movistar riders pushed one another in Tuesday’s team time trial.
The 36-year-old Valverde had won two other stages.
Valverde also won the race in northeastern Spain in 2009, the same year he clinched the Spanish Vuelta for his only Grand Tour title.
Three-time Tour de France winner Chris Froome fell out of contention during Saturday’s stage.