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Cummings wins Vuelta stage 13; Rodriguez defends overall lead

FERROL, Spain (AFP) — Stephen Cummings (BMC Racing) won the 13th stage of the Vuelta a España on Friday.

Joaquim Rodríguez (Katusha) held on to the overall leader’s red jersey.

“The whole day was hard with the wind, but in the end I played it very well,” said Cummings. “This win is for my team for always supporting me, because it’s been a very difficult year.”

Cummings launched an attack in the final kilometer of the relatively flat 172.8-kilometer ride from Santiago de Compostela to Ferrol and crossed the finish line ahead of Cameron Meyer (Orica-GreenEdge). Sky’s Juan Antonio Flecha finished third.

The three were part of a group of seven riders that became the first breakaway of this Vuelta to succeed to the finish. Cummings, who broke his pelvis in February in the Volta ao Algarve, managed to out-maneuver his break mates in the final moments.

Rodríguez kept his place on top of the overall standings as well as his 13-second advantage over his nearest rival, Alberto Contador (Saxo Bank-Tinkoff Bank), who is returning to competition after a two-year doping ban.

Chris Froome (Sky), the runner-up at this year’s Tour de France, is third in the overall standings, 53 seconds behind the leader.

“It was a very difficult stage. In the breakaway group there were some very strong riders who had a fast stage, and it made it difficult for us,” said Rodriguez. “There are still many days left in the tour, I am still the leader. I am feeling well but a 13-second lead is very small. If I am still the leader on the rest day on Tuesday, I will start to think that I could win the tour.”

The Vuelta continues on Saturday with the 149.2km 14th stage from Palas de Rei and Puerto de Ancares.

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