Italian Valerio Conti won stage 13 of the Vuelta a Espana as Nairo Quintana retained the leader’s red jersey ahead of Britain’s Chris Froome.
Conti, 23, celebrated the greatest moment of his career to date when he stormed to a solo victory in the hilly 213.4km ride between Bilbao and Urdax-Dantxarinea to secure his Lampre-Merida team their first stage win in this year’s race.
Movistar’s Quintana retained the overall lead as the grand classification contenders rolled in together 33 minutes behind the stage winner, who started the day almost two hours down in the standings.
Team Sky’s Froome remains 54 seconds behind Quintana as he bids to become the first man since 1978 to win the Tour de France and Vuelta in the same year.
A breakaway group of 12 riders formed after 19km with Sergey Lagutin, who will wear the polka-dot jersey on Saturday, and Romain Cardis making their presence felt.
With none of the riders a threat to the GC riders, the break was allowed to go away for the day, with Conti riding clear in the final 20km to take victory.
The race enters the Pyrenees on Saturday, with stage 14 a gruelling 196km trek from Urdax-Dantxarinea to the Col d’Aubisque that contains four classified climbs. The summit finish on Col d’Aubisque will present an opportunity for Froome to try and chip away at Quintana’s lead.
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