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Belgium’s Philippe Gilbert timed his sprint perfectly to claim stage 12 of the Vuelta a Espana in Tarragona on Thursday.

The 164.2km stage featured a three-man breakaway from Fabricio Ferrari, Romain Zingle and Cedric Pineau. All three riders worked hard to open up a seven minute lead but their hopes of winning the stage were dashed as the peloton swallowed them up with only 10km to go before the finish line.

The pack then decided to slow down until Team Sky’s Edvald Boasson Hagen launched a devastating attack in the final metres. The Norwegian rider looked set to clinch top honours but it wasn’t to be as Gilbert eventually stepped it up a gear to claim the event in a time of 4 hours, 3 minutes and 44 seconds while Italy’s Vincenzo Nibali finished safely to retain the overall lead.

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