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Valverde the best; moves closer to jersey

Alejandro Valverde (Caisse d'Epargne)

Alejandro Valverde (Caisse d'Epargne) (Image credit: AFP)

The Tour de Romandie is set for an exciting finish in tomorrow's time trial in Lausanne, with the top four on general classification separated by 28 seconds. Although the lead stayed with Liberty Seguros' Alberto Contador, a stage win by Alejandro Valverde (Caisse d'Epargne) closed the gap to just six seconds. Valverde beat Alexandre Moos (Phonak) and Cadel Evans (Davitamon) in the sprint to the line in Sion, after the lead group had chased down a dangerous solo move by Andrey Kashechkin (Liberty Seguros) inside the final two kilometres.

The 127 km stage started and finished in Sion, and feature three category 1 climbs. The summit of the final climb to Crans Montana came with 27 km to go, and the final run into Sion was a descent followed by 11 km of flat. The early attacks in the opening kilometres saw 11 riders eventually get clear: McCarty (Phonak), Peron (CSC), Beat Zberg (Gerolsteiner), Engels, Garate (Quick.Step), Iglinsky (Milram), Parra Pinto (Cofidis), Charteau (Credit Agricole), Albasini (Liquigas), Moreau (AG2R) and Muraglia (LPR). The group never gained more than two and a half minutes, with Liberty Seguros keeping things under control.

On the final climb to Crans Montana, Garate, Parra and Moreau dropped the rest, while Andrey Kashechkin (Liberty Seguros) bridged across to them from behind and crossed the summit alone. The Kazakhstani had over 1'30 on the yellow jersey group at the top, but a headwind on the flat and some hard work by Valverde, Rodriguez, Moreau, Evans and Horner saw him hauled back just before the end. In the sprint, Valverde was baulked by Ghisalberti with 250m to go, but recovered to take the win comfortably.

Click here for the full results, report & photos.

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