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Vuelta á Espana: Rodriguez stretches his advantage in stage nine

Belgium’s Phillipe Gilbert takes the stage but it’s race leader Rodriguez’s day.

Phillipe Gilbert has plenty to smile about after today's stage win.
Phillipe Gilbert has plenty to smile about after today's stage win.
Image: NACHO GONZALEZ/CORDON/Press Association Images

Result: BELGIUM’S PHILLIPE GILBERT of BMC won the ninth stage of the Tour of Spain, his first stage win of the 2012 season, after being the only rider to follow race leader Joaquim Rodriquez’s break 4km from the stage finish before out sprinting the Spaniard.

Paolo Tiralongo of Astana finished in third.

Here’s how it happened: Sunday’s run from Andorra to Barcelona was marked by an early four-man breakaway comprising Martijn Maaskat (Garmin), Bert Lindeman (Vacansoleil), Mickael Buffaz (Cofidis) and Javier Chacon (Andalucia).

The quartet built up a five-minute gap at one point before being caught by the peloton 25km from the finish.

The in-form Rodriguez was looking good for the stage win on what was essentially a home stage for the Catalan-born cyclist.

However, Gilbert was the only rider alert to his break at the foot of the category three climb of the Alto de Montjuic 4kms from the finish, and out-sprinted the Spaniard to take the victory.

Rodriguez will be more than happy with his day’s work though as he extended his lead in the overall standings to 53 seconds from Team Sky’s Chris Froome and one minute to Alberto Contador in third.

Who’s wearing what colour?

  • Red (general classification): Joaquim Rodriguez
  • Green (points): Joaquim Rodriguez
  • Blue dots (mountains): Alejandro Valverde
  • White (all-round): Joaquim Rodriguez

How did Nico do? Roche remains seventh overall after finishing in the Peloton. He had attempted to go with the break but was swallowed up just before the finish line.

What happens tomorrow then? Tomorrow brings a rest day for the riders before the action resumes on Tuesday with a 190km stage between Ponteareas and Sanxenxo.

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About the author:

Steven O'Rourke

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