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Spaniard Alejandro Valverde wins 17th stage of Tour

19 Jul 2012
10h55
updated at 11h05
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Alejandro Valverde of Spain won the 17th stage of the Tour de France, while Bradley Wiggins mastered a last big test in the mountains to retain the yellow jersey on Thursday.

Movistar Team rider Alejandro Valverde of Spain celebrates winning the 17th stage of the 99th Tour de France cycling race between Bagneres-de-Luchon and Peyragudes, July 19, 2012.             REUTERS/Stephane Mahe (FRANCE - Tags: SPORT CYCLING)
Movistar Team rider Alejandro Valverde of Spain celebrates winning the 17th stage of the 99th Tour de France cycling race between Bagneres-de-Luchon and Peyragudes, July 19, 2012. REUTERS/Stephane Mahe (FRANCE - Tags: SPORT CYCLING)
Photo: STEPHANE MAHE / REUTERS

The 89-mile ride from Bagneres-de-Luchon to the ski station of Peyragudes featured three hard climbs and an uphill finish.

Valverde, the Movistar team leader who once served a doping ban , won his third Tour stage in a breakaway. Christopher Froome of Britain was second and his Sky team leader Wiggins was third, both 19 seconds back.

Wiggins faces one last test — the individual time trial, his specialty — on Saturday. He's trying to become the first Briton to win cycling's biggest race.

Flat stages await on Friday and in Sunday's ride to the finish on the Champs-Elysees in Paris. Those stages aren't expected to alter the standings.

AP - The Associated Press. All rights reserved. This material may not be published, broadcast, rewritten or redistributed.

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