Alejandro Valverde took the third stage of the Vuelta a Espana today, moving into the race leader's red jersey in the process.

The Movistar man left it late to secure victory on the 155km hike, edging ahead of Joaquim Rodriguez with little time left.

The returning Alberto Contador was fourth, crossing the line at exactly the same point as Tour de France runner-up and Olympic medallist Chris Froome (Team Sky).

Ireland's Nicolas Roche finished in 11th place on the stage and remains third overall. 

Valverde is now 19 seconds clear at the head of the general classification, with Rodriguez second. Froome sits fourth, just 20 behind, with Contador four further back in fifth.

Tomorrow the riders will embark on the first major mountain stage of the race, with the Puerdo de Orduna climb climaxing at the ski station of Valdezcaray.