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Madrid – Race leader Alejandro Valverde has abandoned the Tour of Catalonia after crashing 119 kilometres into the fourth stage of the event on Thursday.
The Spanish rider and his Team Movistar team-mate Eros Capecchi both had to withdraw from the race after crashing on a descent towards Seo de Urgel.
Valverde continued for another 10 kilometres before finally pulling out, although Movistar confirmed they believe he has suffered only superficial injuries.
“Alejandro Valverde and Eros Capecchi have bruises all over their body, but we believe there is nothing more serious,” team manager Eusebio Nzue was quoted as saying on the team's twitter page.
The former Tour of Spain winner had taken a four-second lead over Bradley Wiggins and Joaquim Rodriguez after the first three days of the tour. – Sapa-AFP