Chris Froome extended his lead over Vincenzo Nibali as Belgium’s Sander Armee claimed a solo victory on stage 18 of the Vuelta a Espana.
Team Sky rider Froome, 32, whose overall advantage was cut on Wednesday, attacked late on the 169km stage to pick up 21 seconds on Italy’s Nibali and lead him by one minute 37 seconds.
Armee finished 31 seconds ahead of Alexey Lutsenko and Giovanni Visconti.
There are two stages left before Sunday’s parade into Madrid.
Froome broke clear of the peloton 600m from the summit finish at Santo Toribio de Liebana, with only Spain’s Alberto Contador and Canadian Michael Woods able to stay with him.
The four-time Tour de France champion is bidding to become only the third man to complete the Vuelta and Tour de France double in the same year.
Lotto-Soudal’s Armee and Astana’s Lutsenko were the final survivors of a 20-man breakaway as they came to the final climb at the end of the stage from Suances.
Armee rode clear of Kazakh rider Lutsenko, who turned 25 on Thursday, with 700m left for a healthy win.
Friday’s 149.7km stage will take the riders from the Parque Natural de Redes to Gijon.