TORTOSA, Spain — Alejandro Valverde defeated Chris Froome and Alberto Contador to win the decisive fifth stage of the Tour of Catalonia on Friday and take the overall lead going into the weekend.
Valverde won after dominating the final climb of the 182-kilometer (113-mile) stage from Valls to Tortosa. The Spaniard finished 13 seconds ahead of both Froome and Contador.
Valverde opened a 21-second lead over Froome and a 47-second gap to Contador in the overall standings.
American Tejay van Garderen, the leader going into Friday’s stage, dropped to sixth place overall, 1 minute, 18 seconds behind Valverde.
Froome, the three-time Tour de France winner, had an eventful day. He had a puncture about 20 kilometers (12 miles) into the stage, and was also forced to momentarily stop with about 45 kilometers (28 miles) to go because of a crash in front of him.
Saturday’s sixth stage will see riders travel 189 kilometers (117 miles) from Tortosa to Reus.
The week-long race in northeastern Spain ends Sunday in Barcelona.
IGUALADA, Spain — Tejay van Garderen of the U.S. successfully defended his lead in a Tour of Catalonia fourth stage that was cut short by 60 kilometers (37 miles) because of a snowstorm in northeastern Spain.
Nacer Bouhanni of France won the 136-kilometer (84-mile) stage after outsprinting Davide Cimolai of Italy in the final meters. Cimolai beat Bouhanni to win the opening stage on Monday.
Van Garderen finished 33rd with his BMC Racing Team to maintain a 41-second lead over teammate Samuel Sanchez of Spain. Geraint Thomas of Team Sky was another three seconds behind, and Alejandro Valverde was another second back.
Tour de France winner Chris Froome of Team Sky remained four seconds behind Valverde in the overall standings.
Valverde and the rest of the Movistar riders were penalized on Wednesday after some of them pushed each other in the second stage.
The fourth stage was originally to run from Llivia to Igualada, but the snow prompted the race to start 58 kilometers (36 miles) into the route, in the city of Montferrer.
LA MOLINA, Spain — Alejandro Valverde won the third stage of the Tour of Catalonia but lost the overall lead to American rider Tejay van Garderen after the Spaniard’s Movistar team was penalized on Wednesday.
Valverde beat Daniel Martin of Ireland in the final meters of the 188-kilometers (116-mile) stage from Mataro to La Molina, but fell to fourth in the overall standings because of a team sanction handed out earlier in the day.
Valverde and the rest of the Movistar riders were penalized one minute because some of them pushed each other in Tuesday’s team time trial in Banyoles. Judges initially penalized only three riders, including stage winner Jose Joaquin Rojas, but eventually decided to extend the punishment to the rest of the team.
Van Garderen, who had loudly complained about Movistar on Tuesday, finished eighth on Wednesday and opened up a lead of 41 seconds over BMC Racing Team teammate Samuel Sanchez of Spain.
Valverde is 45 seconds off the lead.
“The team did great,” Valverde said. “All I had to do was sprint at the end.”
Tour de France winner Chris Froome was four seconds behind Valverde in the overall standings.
“I’m here to suffer this week, to gain from hard racing and soak it all up,” Froome said.
The week-long race in northeastern Spain concludes on Sunday in Barcelona.
Riders on Thursday face a stage of 194 kilometers (120 miles) from Llivia to Igualada.