MADRID (Reuters) - Briton Simon Yates powered away to a solo victory in stage six of the Tour of Spain on Thursday, a 163.2km ride from Monforte de Lemos to Luintra.


With 3.6km remaining, the Orika-BikeExchange rider went clear and rode to the finish 20 seconds ahead of Spaniard Luis-Leon Sanchez of Astana.


Italian Fabio Felline was third, 22 seconds adrift of the winner.


"I managed to take my opportunity," an elated Yates told Spanish TVE. "I managed to come down perfectly and I timed my attack to perfection."


The victory lifted Yates into 10th place in the general standings, with Colombian Darwin Atapuma (BMC team) finishing safely in the pack to retain the leader's jersey for a third successive day.


"We've defended the leader's jersey in the best possible way," Atapuma said. "I'm going through a good spell and I want to take advantage of this. But we are taking it one day at a time."

Spaniard Alejandro Valverde is 28 seconds adrift while Sky rider Chris Froome, winner of the Tour de France and bronze medalist in the Olympic time trial, is third overall.

Friday's stage seven is a 158.5km ride from Maceda to Puebla de Sanabria. The race finishes on Sept. 11 in Madrid.

(Reporting by Adriana Garcia, editing by Ed Osmond)