Simon Clarke wins Vuelta stage

Updated: August 21, 2012, 2:29 PM ET
Associated Press

ESTACION DE VALDEZCARAY, Spain -- Simon Clarke of Australia won the fourth stage of the Spanish Vuelta on Tuesday, while Joaquim Rodriguez took over the red leader's jersey.

Clarke, riding for Orica Greenedge, finished the 99-mile ride from Barakaldo ending in a summit finish at Estacion de Valdezcaray in 4 hours, 30 minutes, 26 seconds.

Tony Martin was second, followed by Assan Bazayev in third.

Rodriguez, runner-up at the Giro d'Italia, took the overall lead with Christopher Froome of Team Sky one second behind and Alberto Contador of SaxoBank five seconds back.

Alejandro Valverde of Movistar started the stage as leader, but he fell to ninth place, 36 seconds off Rodriguez's pace after being involved in an accident in the peloton.

Rodriguez had lost Monday's stage in a photo finish when he let up in the final meters, thinking he had clinched the victory only to see Valverde edge him at the finish line. The Katusha rider said that moving into first place in the general classification didn't soften the sting of that defeat very much.

"What happened yesterday left its mark on me. I was an idiot," Rodriguez said. "Now I just have to keep on pedaling. It is nice to have the leader's jersey. I want to try and hang on to it as long as possible."

The fifth stage is a 104-mile ride starting and ending in Logrono.

The 21-stage race ends on Sept. 21 in Madrid.


Copyright 2012 by The Associated Press

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