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Roche makes gains on Nibali as Gilbert wins 12th stage of the Vuelta

The Irish cyclist is now just 31 seconds down on the Italian.

Belgian Philippe Gilbert of BMC Racing won today's stage of the Vuelta.
Belgian Philippe Gilbert of BMC Racing won today's stage of the Vuelta.
Image: DAVID STOCKMAN/Belga/Press Association Images

NICOLAS ROCHE PICKED up two bonus seconds on Stage 12 of the Tour of Spain to close within 31 seconds of race leader Vincenzo Nibali (Astana) today.

Roche, who gained the time bonus in the sprint past Port Aventura, remains in second place, 15 seconds clear of Alejandro Valverde (Movistar) and Chris Horner (RadioShack).

The Irish rider finished safely in the peloton, as Belgian Philippe Gilbert (BMC) edged out Edvald Boasson Hagen (Sky) in a sprint finish.

The Sky rider looked set for victory in the 164.2km ride from Maella to Tarragona after being led to within sight of the line by teammate Rigoberto Uran.

But Gilbert produced a late surge to take victory on the line with Maximiliano Ariel Richeze (Lampre) claiming his third podium finish of the race in third.

Tomorrow’s 169km stage 14 from Valls to Castelldefels is the last before the Vuelta arrives in the Pyrenees and may offer some respite for riders before three gruelling days in the mountains.

Additional reporting from AFP.

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Steve O'Rourke

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