Quintana wins Tour of Catalonia ahead of Contador

Nairo Quintana. (Peter Dejong/AP)

BARCELONA, Spain — Nairo Quintana of Colombia held on to his lead over Alberto Contador to win the Tour of Catalonia for the first time on Sunday.

Quintana successfully defended his seven-second advantage over the Spaniard in Sunday’s final stage, an eight-lap ride over 136.4 kilometres (84.7 miles) up and down the Montjuic hill overlooking Barcelona.

Russian rider Aleksei Tsatevich won the seventh stage in a sprint with Primoz Roglic of Slovenia.

Movistar rider Quintana stayed close to Contador from the start on Sunday and his lead was never in jeopardy. He finished with the same seven-second gap he carried into the closing stage, becoming the third Colombian to win the race after Hernan Buenahora in 1998 and Alvaro Mejia in 1993.

Quintana took the overall lead in the Pyrenees on Thursday.

Daniel Martin of Ireland, the 2013 winner, finished third overall -- 17 seconds behind Quintana.

Defending champion Richie Porte of Australia was fourth.

"It's exciting and a point of great pride to beat such great rivals," Quintana said. "It gives me confidence and shows that I'm on the right track going into the Tour of France. It doesn't show that I'm ahead of anybody, but it shows that I've been doing a good job."

The weeklong event in northeastern Spain attracted some of cycling's top riders, including Tour de France champion Chris Froome, who finished eighth overall, 46 seconds behind Quintana.

Quintana's task was made a bit more difficult because three of his Movistar teammates were ill and could not finish the race to help him.

It was the 96th edition of the Tour of Catalonia.