MADRID, March 22 (Xinhua) -- Alejandro Valverde (Movistar) won his second stage of the Volta de Catalonia (Tour of Catalonia) cycle race on Thursday as he finished ahead of Egan Bernal (Sky) and his Movistar team-mate Nairo Quintana in what many believe could be the decisive stage of the seven day race.
The win not only sees Valverde return to the overall leadership of the race, it also highlights the depth in the Movistar team, whose Marc Soler gave a lot of help to Quintana and Valverde on the climbs throughout the day.
The stage took in 170 kilometers from Llanars and La Molina packed with climbs over snow-peaked mountains, which whittled the peloton down to select group of riders, which finally saw allowed Movistar duo of Quintana and Valverde and Sky's Egan Bernal to ride clear with Pierre Latour working hard to try and keep in contact with them over the closing kilometers.
The final two kilometers saw a short descent before a short incline of 1.4 kilometers to the finish line and Quintana led the trio with the aim of setting Valverde up for a sprint.
Bernal attempted to sprint clear with 5000 kilometers remaining with Valverde sticking to his wheel and the veteran Spaniard had few problems in using his finishing speed to overtake nad hold off the young Colombian in the final meters to take the stage.
Valverde has a 19 second lead in the overall standings ahead of Bernal and a 26 second lead over Quintana.
The fourth stage was designated as the 'Queen' stage of the race with two first category and a special category climbs and came after bad weather made Wednesday's stage three considerably easier than expected. As a result it was always going to be vital in deciding the final classification of a race which finishes in Barcelona on Sunday, but which doesn't contain a time-trial stage.
Friday's stage five is a another mountain stage, taking the race 212.8 kilometers from Llivia to Vielha, Val de Aran and includes a first category and a special climb close to the finish, but with a steep descent into the finish line.