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updated: 8/29/2013 4:50 PM

Morkov wins 6th stage, Nibali keeps lead in Vuelta

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Associated Press

CACERES, Spain -- Michael Morkov of Denmark won the sixth stage of the Spanish Vuelta after spoiling Tony Martin's long solo escape in the final miles, and race favorite Vincenzo Nibali maintained the overall lead on Thursday.

Martin, the world time trial champion, broke away near the start of the 108-mile ride Guijuelo to Caceres and held off the peloton until the final sprint.

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The 28-year-old Morkov, riding for SaxoBank-Tinkoff, pushed in front of the pack to claim the victory with a time of 3 hours, 54 minutes, 15 seconds.

"I had a good position and got on the wheel of (Fabian) Cancellara," Morkov said. "I knew that I had that last kick and it was precise enough. When I jumped, I actually was unsure if I did it too early. It was a really fast sprint and we passed Tony Martin on the line."

There were no changes at the top of the overall classification.

Nibali kept the red leader's jersey for Friday's seventh stage, a second consecutive flat ride favoring sprinters that will stretch 128 miles from Almendralejo to Mairena del Alijarafe. The Giro d'Italia champion kept his 3-second advantage over American rider Christopher Horner.

Martin said it wasn't the plan to break away alone and stay in front all the way through the transition stage that took riders along the rolling hills of western Spain.

The Omega Pharma-Quick Step rider from Germany opened up a 7-minute gap at one point and appeared to have just enough left on the final gentle climb before Cancellara led the last-gasp charge to overtake him.

"I was hoping two, three, four guys would go with me, but nobody did, and it didn't make any sense to go back," said Martin. "I gave it a try."

The three-week race ends in Madrid on Sept. 15.

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