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Italian Matteo Trentin won Tuesday’s 10th stage of the Vuelta a Espana, with Britain’s Chris Froome retaining the leader’s red jersey.
Quickstep rider Trentin, who won the fourth stage, pulled clear of a 15-strong breakaway group to comfortably deny Spain’s Jose Joaquin Rojas in the dash for the line.
Another local hope, Jaime Roson, took third at the end of the 164.8km ride from Caravaca to Alhama de Murcia.
Nicolas Roche had a productive day amongst the favorites for outright victory.
The Irish rider, who is placed third overall, moved to within 36 seconds of Froome in the general classification after the BMC man’s decisive move on the descent to the finish.
Colombia’s Esteban Chaves is second, also 36sec adrift of the Briton who is aiming to become only the third man in history to add the Spanish cycling blue riband event to Tour de France victory in the same year.
Trentin, in possession of the green points jersey, said he had targeted a win on this stage.
“I really wanted this victory, I’ve been thinking about this stage for a long time because the climb was tricky but consistent, it was a climb I could handle.”
While this was Trentin’s second win of the race, it was a fourth stage success for his team with Quickstep’s Yves Lampaert taking the second stage and teammate Julian Alaphilippe the eighth.
Wednesday’s 197.5km 11th stage is the first major test in the mountains with a summit finish at Calar Alto in Andalusia and two category-one climbs in the opening 60km.