ALP, Spain — Defending champion Alejandro Valverde regained the overall lead in the Tour of Catalonia by winning the fourth stage on Thursday.

The Spaniard outdueled Egan Bernal of Colombia in the final climb of the 170-kilometer (105-mile) stage from Llanars to Alp.

Nairo Quintana, Valverde’s Movistar teammate, finished third.

Valverde opened a 19-second lead over Bernal in the overall standings. Quintana was 26 seconds back in third place.

“It wasn’t easy because of the pace and the cold weather,” Valverde wrote on Twitter. “It’s good to win again.”

The two-time Tour of Catalonia champion also won the second stage.

Valverde lost his overall lead after a remarkable solo breakaway by Thomas De Gendt on Wednesday. De Gendt finished in 104th place on Thursday.

Riders will face 212 kilometers on Friday’s fifth stage from Llivia to Vielha.

The seven-stage race ends on Sunday in Barcelona.

Author photo
The AP is one of the largest and most trusted sources of independent newsgathering. AP is neither privately owned nor government-funded; instead, as a not-for-profit news cooperative owned by its American newspaper and broadcast members, it can maintain its single-minded focus on newsgathering and its commitment to the highest standards of objective, accurate journalism.