Oscar Rodriguez came from nowhere to power to a summit victory in stage 13 of the Vuelta a Espana that started in Candás and ended in Valle de Sabero today.
The Euskadi Basque Country-Murias rider finished the 174.8km route in a time of 4:17:05, beating Bora-Hansgrohe’s Rafal Majka and BMC Racing Team’s Dylan Teuns to the line.
The tour headed back into the mountains, with today’s stage seeing the first in a trio of summit finishes.
A 32-man breakaway group stayed together for the majority of the race.
With 17.5km remaining they had a gap of 4:15 to the others as they approached the final climb.
This last climb, which had an average gradient of 7.5 per cent, began with 8.3km to go.
The Movistar riders led the chase from the peloton, narrowing the gap to 3:35 behind the breakaway group.
Bora-Hansgrohe’s Jay McCarthy and Lotto-Soudal’s Thomas De Gendt were the first riders to be dropped from the leading group, with Cofidis’s Luis Ángel Maté also losing contact shortly afterwards.
The front of the breakaway was driven by Bora-Hansgrohe’s Marcus Burghardt, who had teammate Majka on his wheel with 3.5km to the finish.
Katusha-Alpecin’s Ilnur Zakarin accelerated and soon had Majka on his wheel after Burghardt was dropped.
Majka executed an attack with less than 2km to the finish, which was followed by Dimension Data’s Merhawi Kudus dragging his way across.
The leading duo were then chased by Teuns, but shortly afterwards Majka rode away from Kudus.
The latter was then overtaken by Teuns who made his way over to Majka, eventually reaching him with 1.6km to the line.
Teuns then led the way with Majka on his wheel. The duo were soon side by side as the gradient increased.
However, Rodriguez then came out of nowhere to catch the leaders and, with 1km remaining, he dropped them and opened a large gap.
The Spanish cyclist maintained his momentum, winning atop the first-category Alto de la Camperona.
“I can’t believe it,” he said. “I can’t believe I’ve won my first race, let alone at the Vuelta.”