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Sergei Chernetski of Russia wins 6th Volta a Catalunya stage, Porte of Australia leads overall

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PORT AVENTURA, Spain — Sergei Chernetski of Russia pressed hard in a final sprint to win the sixth stage of the Volta a Catalunya on Saturday while Richie Porte of Australia retained the overall lead.

Chernetski just edged Julian Alaphilippe of France in a photo finish to claim the first World Tour win of his career, while Maciej Paterski of Poland came in third on the same time.

"I am not a sprinter and this stage has been very hard," said Chernetski, "but today is my day. My victory is big, it's a World Tour win and I am very happy."

After a group of 13 riders had broken away from the chasing pack and led it by up to 2 ½ minutes in the final downhill stretch, a tense tactical race developed among the leaders.

Alaphilippe sprinted forward and looked to have secured the stage but he eased off as he looked back and was caught by Chernetski, forcing a race for the finish.

Porte leads overall by five seconds from Domenico Pozzovivo of Italy, who was seven seconds ahead of third-place Alberto Contador.

The race was marred by a heavy fall involving four riders who went into a protective barrier on the side of the road due to a crush in the peloton. UCI rider Laurens ten Dam of the Netherlands was taken to the hospital in an ambulance.

The race ends on Sunday with a 127-kilometer (79-mile) seventh stage that starts and finishes in Barcelona.

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