Vuelta a Espana: Alejandro Valverde takes stage eight after winning enthralling battle with Peter Sagan

Little changed at the top as the rest of the main general classification contenders finished in the pack with Britain's Simon Yates still fourth overall, 51 seconds back from Rudy Molard

Lawrence Ostlere
Saturday 01 September 2018 16:29
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Movistar's Alejandro Valverde celebrates his victory on stage eight
Movistar's Alejandro Valverde celebrates his victory on stage eight

Alejandro Valverde won an enthralling battle with Peter Sagan to clinch stage eight in Almaden, his second stage of this Vuelta a Espana, and closed the gap to the overall leader Rudy Molard.

The lumpy route through Castile-La Mancha in central Spain was set up perfectly for Valverde, the Spanish veteran who thrives on these kind of punchy uphill finishes which scupper the sprinters. He took advantage to edge out Sagan on the line, with NL-Jumbo's Dutch rider Danny van Poppel finishing third.

Little changed at the top as the rest of the main general classification contenders finished in the pack close behind, with Britain's Simon Yates still fourth overall, 51 seconds back from Molard. Valverde is second at 37 seconds, having collected 10 seconds in bonuses, while the German Emanuel Buchmann is third at 48 seconds.

They had been part of a peloton which reeled in the breakaway trio of Tiago Machado (Katusha-Alpecin), Jorge Cubero (Burgos-BH) and Héctor Sáez (Euskadi-Murias) during the second half of the stage. Van Poppel led the race heading into the technical final kilometre, which included a hairpin turn, but he was reeled in as Valverde and Sagan took over.

Stage nine is the final action before the first rest day of the tour, and its mountainous profile is likely to shake up the top of the general classification.

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