Valverde wins stage to take Catalonia lead

Movistar's Spanish rider Alejandro Valverde (R), pictured here on the third day of competition on March 22, 2017, won his second stage in the Tour of Catalonia two days later

Alejandro Valverde took control of the Tour of Catalonia by winning his second stage of this year's edition on Friday ahead of Chris Froome and Alberto Contador.

Spaniard Valverde broke clear of three-time Tour de France winner Froome and twice Tour laureate Contador in the final kilometre to win the 182km fifth stage and take the overall leader's white jersey from American Tejay Van Garderen.

Valverde had started the day fourth overall due to the penalty his Movistar team incurred during the opening stage team time-trial they had originally won on Monday.

That cost him the overall lead but he proved strongest on the steep (average 9 percent gradient) final 8.4km climb up to Lo Port.

"On the (final) climb I had the legs, I calculated the distance to here, to the finish line (and went for it)," said Valverde, who won the Tour's other hilltop finish too.

"The team was great today, we were out front the whole way," he said.

Briton Froome and Spain's Contador came in 13sec behind and now sit second and third overall at 21sec and 47sec respectively.

Van Garderen lost almost two minutes and dropped to sixth at 1:18.

The week-long stage race finishes on Sunday in Barcelona.