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Alejandro Valverde crashes out of Volta a Catalunya

Alejandro Valverde (Movistar) crashed out of the Volta a Catalunya about midway through Thursday’s “queen stage” across the Pyrénées.

Valverde started the 217-kilometer stage 4 from Llanars to Port Ainé holding a four-second lead over Bradley Wiggins (Sky).

Valverde hit the deck along with teammate Eros Capecchi on the descent of a non-categorized climb on a narrow road with loose gravel. Both riders abandoned the race.

“Alejandro Valverde and Eros Capecchi have bruises all over their body, but we believe there is nothing more serious,” team manager Eusebio Nzue was quoted as saying on the team’s Twitter feed.

Valverde has enjoyed a successful start to his 2013 season, winning a stage at the Mallorca Challenge and two stages and the overall at the Ruta del Sol in February.

A big group of 23 riders pulled clear early in the stage, with Ryder Hesjedal and Daniel Martin (Garmin-Sharp), Danny Pate (Sky), and Nicholas Roche (Saxo-Tinkoff) among them.

Check back to VeloNews for an update.