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Zülle maintains overall lead in Vuelta

Oscar Sevilla and Abraham Olano of Spain, and Switzerland's Alex Zulle, (left to right) during the sixth stage of the Vuelta Keystone

Swiss cyclist Alex Zülle has kept his grip on the overall lead in the Tour of Spain, preserving his 69-second advantage over Spain's second-placed Abraham Olano in the sixth stage of the Vuelta.

Zülle crossed the finish line in 13th position, together with the leading group, in Thursday’s 155.5-kilometre leg between Benidorm and Valencia.

Italian racer Paolo Bossoni won the sprint finish in front of compatriot Giovanni Lombardi and Spaniard Oscar Freire. The latter has won two stages so far, while for Bossoni it was the first victory of his professional career.

Riders began the day in nervous mood, after Wednesday’s incident-packed mountain stage; the race was marked by numerous breakaway bids and a messy fall.

Throughout the day, riders tried to break away from the pack, but none managed to get very far ahead. About 10 kilometres from the finish line, there was a massive fall that proved costly for a number of key riders. Russia’s Pavel Tonkov and Spain’s Fernando Escartin both dropped 43 seconds in the overall standings.

Friday’s seventh stage runs from Valencia to Morella over 175.4 kilometres. It is the second longest of the tour’s 21 legs, and includes two second-category mountain passes.

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SWI - a branch of Swiss Broadcasting Corporation SRG SSR

SWI - a branch of Swiss Broadcasting Corporation SRG SSR