Barquil wins 13th Vuelta stage, Nibali keeps lead
CASTELLDEFELS, Spain (AP) — French cyclist Warren Barquil earned his first professional win in the 13th stage of the Spanish Vuelta on Friday, while Vincenzo Nibali kept the overall lead before the race enters three straight days in the mountains.
Barquil sprinted away from a small breakaway group over the final 200 hundred meters (yards) to claim the 169-kilometer (105-mile) ride from Valls to Castelldefels on the Mediterranean coast in 4 hours, 13 seconds.
Barquil is a former French junior champion and won the Tour de l’Avenir in 2012. He dedicated the win to his recently deceased grandfather.
“I am very happy for this victory, this is my first as a professional,” said Barquil, who rides for Argos-Shimano.
The hilly ride in the northeastern region of Catalonia didn’t alter the top of the overall classification.
Nibali maintained his 31-second lead over nearest chaser Nicolas Roche. Alejandro Valverde and Christopher Horner were tied for third overall at 46 seconds behind, while Joaquim Rodriguez was fifth at 2 minutes, 33 seconds off Nibali’s pace.
Nibali, who is aiming to add to his Giro d’Italia win from earlier this summer, appeared to be almost fully recovered from a bee sting that had caused his face to swell.
On Saturday, the riders dispute the first of three stages in the Pyrenees with a 156-kilometer (97-mile) route starting at Baga and finishing in the principality of Andorra. The 14th stage features a special-category climb and ends with a first-category summit finish.
Weather reports forecast the end to the sunny and warm conditions riders have enjoyed so far. A drop in temperature and rain is expected in the mountains.
The three-week grand tour finishes in Madrid on Sept. 15.