Farrar forces it to take 11th stage of the Tour of Spain

CARAVACA DE LA CRUZ, Spain: American Tyler Farrar won the 11th stage of the Tour of Spain in a mass sprint finish on Wednesday, as controversial Spanish rider Alejandro Valverde retained the leader''s golden jersey.

The Garmin rider edged Belgian Philippe Gilbert and Italy''s Marco Marcato to the line after a 200-kilometre ride from Murcia to Caravaca de la Cruz in southeastern Spain, which included a first category hill climb.

All three were among a group of 49 riders, including Valverde, to record the same time.

The stage was marked by a breakaway after around 65 kilometres by Frenchman David Moncoutie, Spain''s Amets Txurruka and Dutch rider Johnny Hoogerland.

The three built up a lead of more than eight minutes but were caught by the peleton around 50 kilometres before the finish.

Frenchman Remy di Gregorio also launched a late and short-lived attack.