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Vuelta a Espana: Higuita victorious as GC battle heats up - Video highlights

Sergio Higuita (EF Education First) claimed his first Grand Tour stage win Thursday during stage 18 at the Vuelta a España with a spirited solo attack from the day's breakaway, holding off an elite group by 15 seconds.

Race lead Primoz Roglic (Jumbo-Visma) led a small group to the line ahead of Alejandro Valverde (Movistar) and Rafal Majka (Bora-Hansgrohe).

Miguel Angel Lopez (Astana) put in multiple attacks during the mountainous stage, and while his attempts to break away from the other overall contenders were closely marked by Roglic and Valverde, the Colombian managed to dislodge Tadej Pogacar (UAE Team Emirates) and move back into the white jersey of best young rider.

Lopez moved up to fourth overall and, thanks to a difficult moment by Nairo Quintana (Movistar) on the final climb of the Puerto de Cotos, closed the gap to the podium down to 46 seconds. Quintana lost a minute to his teammate Valverde and dropped to third.

Roglic leads Valverde by 2:50 and Quintana at 3:31 with Lopez at 4:17 with two flat stages and one summit finale on Saturday left to shake up the overall rankings.