Lindeman pounces on Cousin's mistake to win 7th Vuelta stage

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LA ALPUJARRA, Spain (AP) — Bert Jan Lindeman of the Netherlands took advantage of a mistake by Jerome Cousin of France to sprint ahead and win the seventh stage of the Spanish Vuelta on Friday, while Esteban Chaves of Colombia retained the overall race-leader's red jersey.

Cousin had led a group of five riders up the final ascent after breaking away from the pack, but within sight of the finish line his back wheel touched Ilia Koshevoy's front tire and he lost his balance.

"I am happy I could make this victory, this is really special," said Lindeman. "Every race is important and now we have the victory, that's really nice."

The 26-year-old Team Lotto rider finished in 5 hours, 10 minutes, 24 seconds.

Cousin had looked strong, with the five-rider group leading the pack by more than six minutes on the climb, but while trying to time his final sprint he looked back, touched wheels and came off his cycle.

Bulgaria's Koshevoy finished second, nine seconds behind, and Italy's Fabio Aru finished third, 29 seconds adrift. Cousin recovered to cross the line fourth.

In the overall standings, Chaves leads second-place Tom Dumoulin of the Netherlands by 10 seconds with Daniel Martin of Ireland third, 33 seconds behind. Chaves' overall time is 27 hours, six minutes, 13 seconds.

"I'm really happy, another day that we get to keep the red jersey," said Chaves. "Every day that I get to wear the jersey is important and I can only thank my whole team."

Chaves said the final ascent was tough because it was a steady 50-minute climb, but his legs felt fine at the end.

"To be able to be among the best at the end in an honor for me," he said.

With the temperatures reaching 37 degrees Celsius (98.6 F), the heat appeared to hamper Chris Froome's ascent and the Tour de France winner lost 27 seconds on Chaves to sit 1 minute, 22 seconds behind overall.

Saturday's stage is a largely downhill 182.5-kilometer (113.4-mile) ride from Puebla de Don Fadrique to Murcia.

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