Mathias Frank (IAM Cycling) was the rider who would take the top step in Llucena as he crossed the line ahead of Leopold Konig (Team Sky) and Robert Gesink (LottoNL-Jumbo).
The peloton had to deal with a tough 177km route. Two category 2 climbs and a category 3 climb during the stage would soften up the riders’ legs before a brutal category 1 climb brought the stage to a close.
The first category 2 climb started after only 12km of racing, which meant Fraile had a good opportunity to win back some points in the race for the King of the Mountains jersey.
Team DiData were committed to helping Fraile in his quest and their riders were active even before reaching the climb.
Merhawi Kudus and Jaco Venter were both part of the early moves, keeping things in check before the road ramped upwards.
Fraile benefited from his team-mates’ work and took all five points on top of the climb.
This brought the Basque climber to within three points of Kenny Elissonde (FDJ), who leads the competition.
Over the climb the race was strung out, but there was no definitive break.
Kristian Sbaragli was attentive, riding in the first few places, and his good positioning would be to his benefit as 28 riders managed to gap the rest of the peloton.
A concentrated effort by the big lead group saw them open up a healthy gap on the peloton and, with so many riders up front, it was always going to be difficult to bring them back.
As Elissonde was not in the break, this was a good situation for the African team as Sbaragli was representing their colours at the head of affairs.
Sbaragli made his presence known in the break as he took maximum points on the two other categorised climbs before reaching the final climb of the day.
Known as a sprinter, Sbaragli has also shown a good pair of climbing legs but the final category 1 climb was always going to be too difficult for the Italian.
Nevertheless, he still put in an attack just before the really steep gradient began at 3km to go, showing his fighting spirit.
He was caught by the main chasers a little way down the road and had to settle for 18th place on the stage.
“There were a few attacks and I followed some moves and made the final selection. The last 4km of the final climb had a really steep gradient and there were a lot of good climbers in the group.
“I tried my best but obviously I was not able to fight for victory or the podium, but that’s okay. Hopefully tomorrow is a better stage for us,” said Sbaragli.
The rest of the African team riders all made it home in good time and are looking forward to a strong finish in the final week.