Miguel Ángel López (Movistar) prevailed from the elite group of overall favourites on the fearsome Alto d’El Gamoniteiru on stage 18 of the Vuelta a España, but was unable to dislodge the steady, unflappable race leader Primož Roglič (Jumbo-Visma).
López escaped to gain 14 seconds over Roglič to solidify his grip on third place in the overall, while Movistar teammate Enric Mas held strong on the punishing slopes to maintain his second place in the rankings.
The evil twin of the Angliru's debut in the Vuelta - its 14.6 kilometres of nearly all double-digit gradients - was shrouded in mist and rain as Bahrain Victorious set the pace for leader Jack Haig on much of the lower slopes.
Egan Bernal (Ineos Grenadiers) put in a stinging attack with 5km still to climb, shattering the group and distancing Haig. After Bernal was caught by the reduced group, López made his move, overhauling early attacker David de la Cruz (UAE Team Emirates) and opening up a 30-second gap on Roglič's group.
The Jumbo-Visma leader clawed back half of the gap by the finish line to hold tight to the red jersey, now with 2:30 on Mas and 2:58 on Lopez, with the last of the long, tough mountains behind him before the final time trial in Santiago La Compostela.
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