Primoz Roglic moved nearer to clinching his third consecutive Spanish Vuelta title after growing his lead on the ultimate take a look at within the excessive mountains, whereas Miguel Angel Lopez received the demanding 18th stage.
Lopez held off a late assault by Roglic to say the 162km route that crested three mountain passes earlier than a end atop the beyond-category Altu d’El Gamoniteiru.
Australian Jack Haig completed fifth within the stage, virtually a minute behind Lopez to carry down fourth spot within the common classification.
It’s the first time the Spanish Grand Tour has included the gruelling ascent with a median gradient of almost 10 per cent over 14.6km.
Lopez broke away from the group of the hardiest riders, together with Roglic, with round 5km to go and overtook David de la Cruz within the fog that obscured the imaginative and prescient of the valleys beneath.
Lopez gave Movistar its first win at this 12 months’s race, ending in 4 hours 41 minutes and 21 seconds.
Roglic dropped Enric Mas and Egan Bernal over the ultimate metres to complete second, 14 seconds behind Lopez.
Roglic, the Jumbo-Visma chief, added a number of seconds to his lead within the common classification.
Mas is his nearest chaser at 2:20 minutes behind with three levels to go.
“It is good (to be out of the mountains). We’re all feeling the efforts from the final two days and the weeks earlier than,” Roglic stated.
“I nonetheless assume there are some tremendous onerous levels to return. Hopefully we are able to do our greatest and end it off.”
Stage 19 on Friday will take riders over 191km from Tapia to Monforte de Lemos.
After one other hilly journey on Saturday, the race concludes with a person time trial in Santiago de Compostela on Sunday.
Roglic received the race’s time trial on its opening stage, so Mas and Lopez could have prone to attempt to lastly break Roglic within the hills in the event that they hope to win.
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