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Chaves wins 6th stage of Tour of California

May 17, 2014

WRIGHTWOOD, California (AP) — Colombia’s Esteban Chaves won the hilly sixth stage of the Tour of California on Friday, and Britain’s Bradley Wiggins increased his lead by 2 seconds in the overall standings.

With temperatures surpassing 38 degrees (100 F) for the third straight day, Chaves — riding for Orica-GreenEdge — completed the 160-kilometer (99.4-mile) leg from Santa Clarita to Mountain High Ski Resort in 4 hours, 9 minutes, 13 seconds.

Wiggins, the Sky rider who won the 2012 Tour de France, finished fifth in the most difficult stage of the eight-day race. He leads Australia’s Rohan Dennis of Garmin-Sharp — seventh is the stage — by 30 seconds.

American Lawson Craddock of Giant-Shimano was third overall, 1:48 behind Wiggins.

“The team rode incredibly to put me in that position today,” said Wiggins, who took the race lead Monday after claiming the second stage individual time trial by 44 seconds.

Spain’s David De La Cruz of NetApp-Endura was second in the stage that featured 11,700 feet of climbing, including a 27-kilometer (17-mile) finishing ascent with an average 6.3 percent gradient and to and elevation of 7,200 feet.

“Today was the day, not that you fear it, but the stage you wanted to get through,” Wiggins said. “There’s always a danger in a day like today with the heat and attacks coming in the final 40 minutes.”

American Tom Danielson of Garmin Sharp was third in 4:09:54.

“The is a fantastic win for me and my teammates,” said the 24-year-old Chaves, a third-year pro who claimed his fourth career win. I did not think it was possible until the last two kilometers. To beat guys like Danielson, great champions like Bradley Wiggins is a dream come true.”

Chaves, who broke his collarbone last year and competed in only five races, began the day 13th overall. He improved to seventh, trailing by 2:39.

The race continues Saturday with an 141.1--kilometer (88.7-mile) ride from Santa Clarita to Pasadena.

The stage will include two small climbs and a sharp descent will take the riders into Pasadena.

The event will end Sunday in Thousand Oaks.

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