Cycling: Alejandro Valverde holds off Alberto Contador as Chris Froome zooms into contention on the Tour of Spain

 

Arrate

Alberto Contador launched seven attacks on the five-kilometre climb of Arrate in the Tour of Spain yesterday but could not shake stage three winner and new overall leader Alejandro Valverde.

Racing for the first time since a doping suspension, Contador's repeated accelerations on Arrate's tree-lined slopes helped the Saxo Bank rider shred the lead group to just four riders. But Movistar's Valverde overpowered the lead group on the Tour's first mountain-top stage finish, narrowly beating another Spaniard, Joaquim Rodriguez, with Britain's Chris Froome third and Contador fourth. Valverde will take an 18-second advantage over team-mate Benat Intxausti into the fourth stage, with Rodriguez third, 19 seconds behind, Froome fourth, a second further back, and Contador fifth, 24 seconds off the pace.

In the first major shake-up of the Tour's main contenders, last year's winner, Juan Jose Cobo, lost 50 seconds on the mountain, while two-time winner Russian Denis Menchov fell back nearly two minutes. "It's incredibly difficult to beat a rider like Rodriguez, he deserved the win as much as me, but maybe he was a little bit over-confident and I just managed to do it," Valverde said. "Movistar have won the opening team time trial and this stage as well, we've kept the lead for the last three days, we can be more than happy with what we've achieved."

Valverde, who himself returned to competitive cycling in January this year after serving a two-year doping ban, added he was delighted to be in front, particularly considering he had not originally intended to start the race. Contador clearly made the biggest impression on Valverde up the Arrate but Froome, whose Sky team-mate Mark Cavendish confirmed yesterday he would ride in next month's Tour of Britain, was identified as the major threat.

"Contador was definitely the strongest but Rodriguez and I could get back up to him every time he attacked," Valverde said. "It [the climb] cost Froome a little bit, but with that time trial in the second week it's going to be very difficult to keep him under control."

* A federal judge in Austin, Texas, threw out Lance Armstrong's lawsuit against the US Anti-Doping Agency yesterday, a decision that allows the agency's drug case against the seven-time Tour de France winner to move ahead. Armstrong, who has repeatedly denied doping, claimed in his lawsuit that USADA's arbitration process violates his constitutional rights. US District Judge Sparks dismissed the lawsuit as "speculative".

Have you tried new the Independent Digital Edition apps?
News
election 2015
Sport
Cristiano Ronaldo celebrates his goal for Real Madrid against Juventus
football
Voices
Ed Miliband and David Cameron are neck and neck in the polls
voicesArmando Iannucci: on how British politics is broken
Arts and Entertainment
Harrison Ford plays Indiana Jones in The Last Crusade (1989)
film
Life and Style
Great minds like Einstein don't think alike
tech
Arts and Entertainment
Billie Piper as Brona in Penny Dreadful
tvReview: It’s business as usual in Victorian London. Let’s hope that changes as we get further into the new series spoiler alert
Life and Style
A nurse tends to a recovering patient on a general ward at The Queen Elizabeth Hospital in Birmingham
health
News
Fans take a selfie with Ed Miliband in Kempston, near Bedford, on Tuesday
election 2015
News
science
Arts and Entertainment
No Offence
tvReview: No Offence has characters who are larger than life and yet somehow completely true to life at the same time spoiler alert
News
Chuck Norris pictured in 1996
people
Arts and Entertainment
Sarah Lucas, I SCREAM DADDIO, Installation View, British Pavilion 2015
artWhy Sarah Lucas is the perfect choice to represent British art at the Venice Biennale
Caption competition
Caption competition
  • Get to the point
Latest stories from i100
Daily Quiz
Independent Dating
and  

By clicking 'Search' you
are agreeing to our
Terms of Use.

Career Services
iJobs Job Widget
iJobs General

Ashdown Group: IT Support Engineer - Leeds

£22000 - £25000 per annum: Ashdown Group: IT Support Engineer - Leeds This i...

SThree: Trainee Recruitment Consultant - Bristol

£18000 - £23000 per annum + Uncapped OTE: SThree: SThree Trainee Recruitment C...

SThree: Trainee Recruitment Consultant - Birmingham

£18000 - £23000 per annum + Uncapped OTE: SThree: SThree Trainee Recruitment C...

Guru Careers: Project Manager / Business Analyst

£40-50k + Benefits.: Guru Careers: A Project Manager / Business Analyst is nee...

Day In a Page

General Election 2015: Ed Miliband's unlikely journey from hapless geek to heart-throb

Miliband's unlikely journey from hapless geek to heart-throb

He was meant to be Labour's biggest handicap - but has become almost an asset
General Election 2015: A guide to the smaller parties, from the the National Health Action Party to the Church of the Militant Elvis Party

On the margins

From Militant Elvis to Women's Equality: a guide to the underdogs standing in the election
Amr Darrag: Ex-Muslim Brotherhood minister in exile still believes Egypt's military regime can be replaced with 'moderate' Islamic rule

'This is the battle of young Egypt for the future of our country'

Ex-Muslim Brotherhood minister Amr Darrag still believes the opposition can rid Egypt of its military regime and replace it with 'moderate' Islamic rule, he tells Robert Fisk
Why patients must rely less on doctors: Improving our own health is the 'blockbuster drug of the century'

Why patients must rely less on doctors

Improving our own health is the 'blockbuster drug of the century'
Sarah Lucas is the perfect artist to represent Britain at the Venice Biennale

Flesh in Venice

Sarah Lucas has filled the British pavilion at the Venice Biennale with slinky cats and casts of her female friends' private parts. It makes you proud to be a woman, says Karen Wright
11 best anti-ageing day creams

11 best anti-ageing day creams

Slow down the ageing process with one of these high-performance, hardworking anti-agers
Juventus 2 Real Madrid 1: Five things we learnt, including Iker Casillas is past it and Carlos Tevez remains effective

Juventus vs Real Madrid

Five things we learnt from the Italian's Champions League first leg win over the Spanish giants
Ashes 2015: Test series looks a lost cause for England... whoever takes over as ECB director of cricket

Ashes series looks a lost cause for England...

Whoever takes over as ECB director of cricket, says Stephen Brenkley
Fishing for votes with Nigel Farage: The Ukip leader shows how he can work an audience as he casts his line to the disaffected of Grimsby

Fishing is on Nigel Farage's mind

Ukip leader casts a line to the disaffected
Who is bombing whom in the Middle East? It's amazing they don't all hit each other

Who is bombing whom in the Middle East?

Robert Fisk untangles the countries and factions
China's influence on fashion: At the top of the game both creatively and commercially

China's influence on fashion

At the top of the game both creatively and commercially
Lord O’Donnell: Former cabinet secretary on the election and life away from the levers of power

The man known as GOD has a reputation for getting the job done

Lord O'Donnell's three principles of rule
Rainbow shades: It's all bright on the night

Rainbow shades

It's all bright on the night
'It was first time I had ever tasted chocolate. I kept a piece, and when Amsterdam was liberated, I gave it to the first Allied soldier I saw'

Bread from heaven

Dutch survivors thank RAF for World War II drop that saved millions
Britain will be 'run for the wealthy and powerful' if Tories retain power - Labour

How 'the Axe' helped Labour

UK will be 'run for the wealthy and powerful' if Tories retain power