Philip Deignan (Cervelo Test Team) claimed the biggest win of his career today on the 18th stage of the Vuelta A Espãna besting Roman Kreuziger (Liquigas) to the line in a nail-biting two-up sprint finish into Avila
The Letterkenny rider in his fourth professional season took advantage of an early 16-man break that succeeded in gaining 10 minutes on the main peloton, before launching an attack of his own with less than nine kilometres remaining.
Only Kreuziger managed to stay on his wheel but showing his mettle, Deignan surged clear on the cobbled climb approaching the finish and held off his opponent by a mere three seconds, Jakob Fuglsang (Saxo Bank) rolling in for third place a further 16 seconds back.
The win also moves Deignan into the top 10 in General Classification after he finished 9 minutes and 41 seconds ahead of the main peloton.
With just three stages left to race including a time-trial on Saturday, it is unlikely the Donegal man will move into podium contention but having just turned 26 and competing in his fourth Grand Tour, the result augers well for the world championships in Mendrisio, Switzerland at the end of the month.
The stage win is the first by an Irish rider in a Grand Tour since Stephen Roche won a stage of the Tour de France in 1992.