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Rodriguez wins 5th stage, Chavanel keeps lead

Updated: August 24, 2011, 12:58

VALDEPENAS DE JAEN, Spain (AP) Joaquin Rodriguez won the fifth stage of the Spanish Vuelta on Wednesday, and French cyclist Sylvain Chavanel kept the overall leader's red jersey.

A day after helping Daniel Moreno to victory, Rodriguez had the favor returned by his fellow Spaniard and Katusha teammate to finish the 116-mile stage in 4 hours, 42 minutes, 54 seconds.

Dutch rider Wouter Poels was four seconds behind Rodriguez. Moreno was third, trailing his teammate by five seconds.

Chavanel leads Moreno overall by nine seconds in a time of 18:02:34. Rodriguez moved within 23 seconds of the QuickStep cyclist in third.

Defending champion Vincenzo Nibali was 11th - 11 seconds behind - to trail Chavanel by 33 seconds in fifth.

British sprinter Mark Cavendish didn't race after pulling out during the fourth stage on Tuesday.

Organizers held one minute of silence before the start in honor of Spanish cyclist Xavier Tondo, who died in a freak accident this year.

The sixth stage Thursday is a 120-mile leg from Udeba to the ancient city of Cordoba. Sprinters will be have to be mindful of staying close to the leaders or risk losing a chance on the final sprint after a short climb near the finish.

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