September 06, 2014

LA CAMPERONA, Spain (AP) Ryder Hesjedal of Canada won a mountainous 14th stage of the Spanish Vuelta on Saturday, while Alberto Contador held onto the red leader's jersey for a fourth straight day.

Hesjedal, a former Giro d'Italia winner riding for Garmin Sharp, edged Oliver Zaugg in the final meters of the summit ascent to claim the 201-kilometer (125-mile) ride from Santander to La Camperona featuring two category-one climbs.

Contador increased his lead to 42 seconds over nearest rival Alejandro Valverde, who finished 22 seconds behind the five-time grand tour winner.

Chris Froome responded to attacks by Valverde and Contador to surge forward over the final kilometer with only Joaquim Rodriguez able to keep pace among the rivals. Froome managed to claw seven seconds back from Contador, and improve a place to third in the general classification, but the Spanish leader still commands a gap of 73 seconds over the British rider.

''I lost time, but I'm OK with today's result,'' Valverde said. ''Froome showed he's going to be a strong rival for the remaining stages, he's still there.''

Rodriguez trails Contador by 1:29, while Colombian Rigoberto Uran fell from third place to fifth, 2:07 behind.

Renowned sprinter Peter Sagan of Slovenia withdrew from the race during the stage.

The 15th stage on Sunday is a 152-kilometer (94-mile) ride from Oviedo to the Lagos de Covadonga special-category peak.

The 21-stage races ends in Santiago de Compostela on Sept. 14.

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