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Cunego claims second Vuelta stage victory

  • Story Highlights
  • Damiano Cunego claimed his second stage win in this year's Vuelta Espana
  • The Italian came home over two minutes clear to win mountainous 14th stage
  • Alejandro Valverde retains the leader's gold jersey after crossing the line in fifth
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(CNN) -- Damiano Cunego claimed his second stage win of the Vuelta Espana on a day when Alejandro Valverde further strengthened his hold on the leader's gold jersey.

Cunego celebrates claiming his second stage victory in this year's Vuelta Espana on Sunday.

Cunego celebrates claiming his second stage victory in this year's Vuelta Espana on Sunday.

Italian Cunego, having already enjoyed victory on stage eight, completed the 157km stage 14 ride from Granada to the summit of La Pandera in a time of four hours, four minutes and 23 seconds.

The Lampre rider staged a solo breakaway with around 15km to go and in the end claimed a comfortable victory, beating second-placed Dane Jacob Fuglsang by two minutes and 23 seconds.

Samuel Sanchez was third, more than half a minute further back, while his fellow-Spaniard Ezequiel Mosquera was fourth.

Valverde crossed the line fifth, four seconds ahead of sixth-placed Robert Gesink who is the Caisse d'Epargne rider's closest challenger in the general classification.

That means Valverde now boasts a lead of 31 seconds over the Dutch Rabobank rider heading into the final week of the race. Sanchez is in third spot, one minute and 10 seconds behind Valverde.

The 27-year-old Cunego, who also finished fifth on Friday, looked eager to make his mark on Sunday's stage 14 and made a number of attempted breakaways early on.

He was also part of the nine-man group that did manage to escape the peloton at around the 47km stage, before going on to build a lead of almost 10 minutes.

That gap was gradually being whittled down in the rainy conditions, but Cunego then made his solo bid for glory and by the 8.4km climb up Sierra de la Pandera and the finishing line, the Italian boasted a healthy lead over his main rivals.

Monday's stage 15 sees the peloton take in a 167km ride from Jaen to Cordoba.

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