Jelle Wallays was the winner of the stage, pulling off a balancing act in the final kilometres to keep the bunch at bay and also save enough energy in his legs to beat breakaway companion Sven Erik Bystrom (UAE Team Emirates) in the sprint to the line.
He celebrated the win with a dramatic salute and exclamation of joy over the finishing line, marking one of the biggest victories in his career, alongside his Paris-Tours and Dwars dor Vlaanderen triumphs.
He hugged team-mates and staff before exclaiming clearly, "Losers! You are laughing with me! Where are the men of Quick-Step Floors ?! Hey?!".
The Belgian wasn't done however, and a visibly agitated and adrenaline-filled Wallays looked at the QuickStep Floors team bus and let out a particularly loud 'Yes', rubbing in the fact that he had won.
Recriminations came afterward from QuickStep on Twitter with team boss Patrick Lefevre tweeting the video of Wallays with the tag "Too much caffeine".
Wallays explained his position in the press release issued by Lotto Soudal after the stage, saying that his strong reaction was directed mostly at Rik van Slycke, former Belgian rider and QuickStep's DS at the Vuelta.
"After the finish it felt like justice had been done as sports director Van Slycke called me some names earlier on the stage," said Wallays.
"That also explains my strong reaction. Then, of course, it feels good that they were not able to catch you before the finish line. But no offence to the blue squad.”
Wallays also had the added joy of denying QuickStep Floors a victory for star sprinter Elia Viviani, the presumptive favourite on the flat finish into Lleida.