Tour of Spain: Chris Froome falls off the pace and back to fourth


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The Independent Online

Chris Froome endured a tough day in the Tour of Spain yesterday, finishing 35 seconds behind Joaquin Rodriguez to slip to fourth place in the standings. Rodriguez shadowed all Alberto Contador's repeated attacks in the 15th stage to defend his overall 22sec lead. The 187km (116-mile) stage in the Picos de Europa mountains was won by Antonio Piedra of Caja Rural.

Rodriguez stayed close to Contador's back wheel with every surge by his fellow Spaniard on the final special-category climb to the finish line at the Lagos de Covadonga summit.

Spain's Piedra had escaped from a small breakaway group with seven miles to go and finished the stage clear in 5hr 1min 23sec. Ruben Perez of Euskadi-Euskaltel, Lloyd Mondory of Ag2r La Mondiale and David de la Fuente came home in second and third.