Stybar wins, Nibali holds lead
Czech rider Zdenek Stybar won the seventh stage of the Spanish Vuelta on Friday, and Vincenzo Nibali of Italy maintained his overall lead.
Stybar broke away with Philippe Gilbert in the final kilometers of the 206-kilometer (128-mile) stage from Almendralejo to Mairena del Alijarafe and edged the world road race champion at the finish line.
The 27-year-old Stybar won the Eneco Tour this month. His stage win comes one day after Omega Pharma-Quickstep teammate Tony Martin saw his long solo escape come up just short in the final stretch.
"It's a really beautiful day for me and my team after yesterday when Tony was fighting so hard. It was a perfect scenario," Stybar said. "It felt really good. The first stages were really hard for me, but today the win gives me a lot of confidence."
Stybar finished with a provisional time of 4 hours, 51 minutes, 27 seconds.
The flat stage didn't cause any changes at the top of the general classification.
Nibali, the Giro d'Italia champion, kept his 3-second lead over American rider Christopher Horner.
The day ended poorly for the Garmin Sharp team when the peloton passed through Seville, with Tyler Farrar stopping because of a flat tire before Daniel Martin was slowed by a fall.
After two transition stages, the Vuelta returns to the mountains on Saturday with a 167-kilometer (104-mile) ride starting in Jerez de la Frontera and ending in a climb to the category one summit finish at Alto de Penas Blancas.
STAGE 7 RESULTS
1. Zdenek Stybar (Czech Republic / Omega Pharma - Quick-Step) 4:51:27"
2. Philippe Gilbert (Belgium / BMC Racing) ST
3. Robert Wagner (Germany / Belkin) +1"
4. Adrien Petit (France / Cofidis)
5. Juan Antonio Flecha (Spain / Vacansoleil)
6. Andrew Fenn (Britain / Omega Pharma - Quick-Step)
7. Edvald Boasson Hagen (Norway / Team Sky)
8. Danilo Wyss (Switzerland / BMC Racing)
9. Klaas Lodewyck (Belgium / BMC Racing)
10. Reinardt Janse Van Rensburg (South Africa / Argos)
11. Geoffrey Soupe (France / FDJ.fr)
12. Greg Henderson (New Zealand / Lotto)
13. Ramon Sinkeldam (Netherlands / Argos)
14. Michael Matthews (Australia / Orica)
15. Michael Morkov (Denmark / Saxo - Tinkoff)
16. Zakkari Dempster (Australia / NetApp)
17. Grega Bole (Slovenia / Vacansoleil)
1. Vincenzo Nibali (Italy / Astana) 27:29:35"
2. Chris Horner (U.S. / RadioShack) +3"
3. Nicolas Roche (Ireland / Saxo - Tinkoff) +8"
4. Haimar Zubeldia (Spain / RadioShack) +16"
5. Alejandro Valverde (Spain / Movistar) +21"
6. Robert Kiserlovski (Croatia / RadioShack) +26"
7. Rigoberto Uran (Colombia / Team Sky) +28"
8. Daniel Moreno (Spain / Katusha) +31"
9. Rafal Majka (Poland / Saxo - Tinkoff) +38"
10. Roman Kreuziger (Czech Republic / Saxo - Tinkoff) +42"