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Valverde retains slender Dauphine advantage

  • Story Highlights
  • France's Pierrick Fedrigo wins sixth stage of the Dauphine Libere to Briancon
  • Spain's Alejandro Valverde retains overall lead with just two stages remaining
  • Valverde is 16 seconds ahead of Cadel Evans with Alberto Contador in third
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(CNN) -- Spain's Alejandro Valverde remains 16 seconds clear of Australian Cadel Evans following the gruelling 106km sixth stage of the Dauphine Libere from Gap to Briancon.

Fedrigo celebrates winning stage six of the Dauphine Libere as Alejandro Valverde retained his race lead.

Fedrigo celebrates winning stage six of the Dauphine Libere as Alejandro Valverde retained his race lead.

The pair, along with third-placed Alberto Contador -- the defending Tour de France winner -- crossed the line together, over four minutes behind stage winner Pierrick Fedrigo of France.

Fedrigo -- who won a stage in the 2006 Tour de France -- was among a group of 14 riders who broke away from the peloton prior to the Col d'Izoard -- the largest climb of the day.

Five riders then attacked again on the descent of the mountain and Fedrigo edged ahead of Belgian Jurgen Van de Walle on the finish line in the narrow streets of Briancon. Veteran Frenchman Stephane Goubert, 39, finished third on the day.

Saturday's penultimate stage is another tough trek over a route of 157km from Briancon to Saint-Francois-Longchamp.

The race -- a traditional key warm-up for next month's Tour -- concludes on Sunday in the Alpine city of Grenoble, three weeks ahead of the Tour start at Monaco.

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