The Swiss cyclist, Alex Zülle, has kept the leader's yellow jersey for a seventh consecutive day after Friday's leg of the Tour of Spain. Zülle preserved his 69 second lead ahead of Spain's Abraham Olano.
Friday's 175-kilometre stage from Valencia to Morella was won by Spain's Roberto Heras, who sprinted across the finish line two seconds ahead of a chasing pack led by the French rider, Patrice Halgand.
Germany's Jan Ullrich, one of Zülle's main rivals for the overall title, took third place but was unable to narrow the gap on the Swiss rider who crossed the line just milliseconds later to take sixth place.
Ullrich remains 73 seconds behind Zülle.
The close finish came despite attempts by a succession of riders to break from the pack as the race reached its climax. Heras decided to bide his time during the second-category climbs up Port de Querol and Alto de Morella before making his decisive attack in the final 500 metres.
swissinfo with agencies
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