Stybar holds off world champion Gilbert in photo finish

Roche still third as Martin suffers fall at Vuelta

Czech cyclist Zdenek Stybar (Omega Pharma) (right) crosses the finish line ahead of Belgian world road race champion Philippe Gilbert (BMC) at the end of the seventh stage of the 68th edition of “La Vuelta” Tour of Spain, a 205.9 km route between Almendralejo and Mairena del Aljarafe. Photograph: Jose Jordan /AFP/Getty Images

Zdenek Stybar beat world champion Philippe Gilbert in a photo finish to win Friday's seventh stage of the Vuelta a Espana.

The pair made a late bid for victory on the 206-kilometre route from Almendralejo to Mairena del Aljarafe, attacking with 10km to go.

And Czech rider Stybar (Omega Pharma-QuickStep) was able to hold off the challenge of Gilbert (BMC Racing) by a tyre's width. A charging peloton was led in one second behind by Robert Wagner (Belkin), who was third, while Briton Andy Fenn, a team-mate of Stybar's, was sixth.

Italy's Vincenzo Nibali (Astana), who won May's Giro d'Italia, retained the overall leader's red jersey by three seconds from American Chris Horner (RadioShack) with Ireland's Nicolas Roche (Saxo-Tinkoff) third.


Roche was placed in 27th position after coming home in the main bunch, but a fall late in the stage proved costly for Dan Martin as he came home 1.31 behind Stybar to slip back to 43rd position.

Saturday’s eighth stage is the 167km route from Jerez de la Frontera to a summit finish at Estepona Alto Penas Blancas.