POZO ALCON, Spain – French rider Tony Gallopin broke away in the final kilometers and held on to win the seventh stage of the Spanish Vuelta on Friday, while countryman Rudy Molard had another solid run to maintain the leader’s red jersey.
Gallopin had just enough to cross the line ahead of Peter Sagan and Alejandro Valverde after the relatively flat 115-mile route from Puerto Lumbreras to Pozo Alcon.
“I stayed in a good position and waited for the right moment,” Gallopin said. “It’s fantastic. To win ahead of riders like Sagan or Valverde means something.”
Molard was also in the charging group that finished five seconds off the pace.
“In the end it went well for me,” Molard said. “The finale suited my abilities, I was feeling confident. The pace was really high, anything could have happened. Even with good legs, it was really hard. We have to take things day-by-day, try to enjoy this jersey.”
Molard holds a 47-second gap to Valverde going into Saturday’s mostly flat eighth stage that will take riders 121 miles from Linares to Almaden.
Michal Kwiatkowski, who wore the red jersey earlier in the three-week race, crashed with less than 10 kilometers to go, dropping further in the overall standings. He sits sixth, one position behind Gallopin.