ALHAURIN DE LA TORRE, Spain (AFP) — Chris Froome (Sky) won the Ruta del Sol on Sunday as Juan Jose Lobato (Movistar) claimed his second stage victory of the week.
Froome held a two-second advantage over Alberto Contador (Tinkoff-Saxo) and ensured he was in no danger by edging towards the front of the peloton during the sprint finish that ended the 169.8km ride from Montilla to Alhaurin de la Torre.
Froome clinched his victory by finishing sixth on the day in the same time as Contador, who crossed ninth.
Benat Intxausti (Movistar) took third overall at 2:38.
“It couldn’t have gone any better for us out here, and this win is special as it’s my first race of the season,” said Froome.
“That said, I still have a lot to build on as we head towards the Tour de France. I want to stay on this path, staying healthy and injury-free, and gradually building my form.”
Contador likewise was focused on preparation, in his case, for the Giro d’Italia.
“I didn’t expect to be in such good condition in relation to the rest of the field, although I lost by two seconds at the end,” said Contador.
“I also managed a victory [on stage 3] which wasn’t in our plans. I am happy, the preparation towards the Giro is going perfectly.”
Lobato was again the quickest man to the line in his home region of Andalusia after winning the second stage on Thursday. He also has a stage victory at the Tour Down Under under his belt this season.
John Degenkolb (Giant-Alpecin) took second with Sylvain Chavanel (IAM Cycling) third.