The Associated Press SAN ANDRES DE TEIXIDO, Spain (AP) — Rookie rider Lilian Calmejane of France won the fourth stage of the Spanish Vuelta on Tuesday, while Colombian Darwin Atapuma took the overall lead of the grand tour.
Calmejane broke away from a large escape group before the final climb of the 163.5-kilometer route from Betanzos to the San Andres de Teixido summit with its dramatic views of the Atlantic Ocean.
The 23-year-old Direct Energie rider, who turned professional this season, finished the hilly stage in 4 hours, 5 minutes, 19 seconds for his first major victory.
“It’s incredible,” Calmejane said. “It’s my first year as a pro and my first grand tour. My goal was to win a stage, and it’s the fourth stage and I have won [already. What comes in] the future of the Vuelta is now a bonus.”
BMC’s Atapuma crossed 15 seconds later — enough to claim the leader’s red jersey from Ruben Fernandez.
American rider Benjamin King finished third, while Chris Froome and fellow title hopefuls Nairo Quintana, Alejandro Valverde and Alberto Contador all crossed in a tight bunch more than two minutes after Calmejane.
Overall, Atapuma leads second-place Valverde by 29 seconds, with Froome, Quintana and Esteban Chaves within another 10 seconds. Three-time race winner Contador, who has struggled so far at this edition, sits in 13th at almost two minutes off the pace.
“To have the red jersey of the Vuelta is a dream come true,” Atapuma said. “We will try to keep this maillot as long as we can.”
The race remains in northwestern Spain on Wednesday for a relatively flat 171.3-kilometer ride from Viveiro to Lugo.
The 21-stage race ends in Madrid on Sept. 11.