Joaqium Rodriguez (Katusha) extended his overall lead on Stage 6 of the Vuelta a Espana after jumping clear from Chris Froome in the final 300 metres of the Fuerte del Rapitan to take his first win of the 2012 event.
I didn't know how I was going to finish today, my sensations early on were a little uncertain. I thought Alejandro (Valverde) was looking good, to pull it off I'm really happy.
"When I saw Chris Froome go, I just tried to go with him, as he faded, I gave it a go myself, and it worked out," he added.
The win made amends for his Stage 3 mistake, when the Spaniard fluffed the win by soft pedalling too early and handing Alejandro Valverde victory on the line.
Rodriguez made no such mistake this time. He now holds a 10-second lead over Froome who is second, while Alberto Contador (Saxo Bank-Tinkoff Bank), who was surprisingly dropped on the climb, is 35 seconds back.
Contador's team director Bradley McGee said the team was unfazed by the small but expected loss on the climb.
"There are certainly bigger challenges ahead of us that are better suited for Alberto," he said. "We went to the front of the pack on the penultimate climb to make sure he was kept out of trouble on the descent and they boys stuck to the tactics all the way through the stage."
It was another sweltering day in Spain with the mercury touching the 40-degree mark several times throughout the 175.4km stage from Tarazona to Jaca.
While the temperatures may have put off some riders from getting themselves into the break, the five that did get away were not your average first week no namers.
Thomas de Gendt (Vacansoleil-DCM), Martijn Maaskant (Garmin-Sharp), Kristoff Vandewalle (Omega Pharma-QuickStep), Pieter Weening (Orica-GreenEDGE) and Joost van Leijen (Lotto-Belisol) formed the escape, and there was plenty of horsepower within it.
Movistar and Katusha behind were happy enough to set the rhythm, though both teams were keen to keep the gap not too much bigger than four minutes; clearly wary of the strength of the Dutch duo de Gendt and Weening eluding them.
Heading into the final 40km the gap began to fall, albeit slowly. The distance between the escape and the chase stalled at three minutes as the break upped the pace ahead.
Saxo Bank-Tinkoff Bank joined the chase and lined things out as the peloton reached the category three Puerto de Oroel.
The break was shattered with van Leijen, Maaskaant and Vandewalle all cracking within a matter of minutes leaving only de Gendt and Weening at the front.
De Gendt then went solo in a last ditch attempt to evade the peloton. He crested the Oroel, but was fast shedding time.
Through the town of Jaca, and on to the final climb, de Gendt remained ahead, but it was only a matter of time before the catch, with all the big favourites lining up for the win.
Sergio Luis Henao and Rigoberto Uran came to the fore late in the piece for Froome, with a watchful Rodriguez never far behind.
The final kilometre of the Fuerte del Rapitán played out with an infernal pace from Froome's team, Sky, which distanced none other than Contador.
Froome dived away with 500 metres to go, but Rodriguez marked him, and jumped as the Brit faded with 150 metres to go to take the stage and further his overall lead.
Stage 6: 175.4km, Tarazona to Jaca
1 Joaquim Rodriguez (ESP) Katusha 4hr 15min 56sec
2 Christopher Froome (GBR) Sky 0:00:05
3 Alejandro Valverde (ESP) Movistar 0:00:10
4 Alberto Contador (ESP) Saxo Bank-Tinkoff Bank 0:00:18
5 Eros Capecchi (ITA) Liquigas-Cannondale 0:00:19
6 Rigoberto Uran (COL) Sky 0:00:20
7 Rinaldo Nocentini (ITA) AG2R-La Mondiale 0:00:25
8 Mauro Santambrogio (ITA) BMC 0:00:27
9 Nicolas Roche (IRL) AG2R-La Mondiale 0:00:28
10 Robert Gesink (NED) Rabobank 0:00:32
1 Joaquim Rodriguez (ESP) Katusha 21hr 45min 06sec
2 Christopher Froome (GBR) Sky 0:00:10
3 Alberto Contador (ESP) Saxo Bank-Tinkoff Bank 0:00:35
4 Rigoberto Uran (COL) Sky 0:00:43
5 Robert Gesink (NED) Rabobank 0:00:53
6 Alejandro Valverde (ESP) Movistar 0:00:54
7 Nicolas Roche (IRL) AG2R-La Mondiale 0:01:04
8 Bauke Mollema (NED) Rabobank 0:0:1:12
9 Daniel Moreno (ESP) Katusha 0:01:17
10 Juan Jose Cobo (ESP) Movistar 0:01:34