Michael Albasini won the 13th stage of the Vuelta a España this afternoon.
This stage was from Sarria to Ponferrada and saw sprinter Marcel Kittel not starting and Taylor Phinney abandoning as a group of thirty riders which included race leader Bradley Wiggins, Vincenzo Nibali and Nicholas Roche (pictured below) got away.
Matteo Montaguti took the first climb of the day after 15.3kms at Alto O'Pico da Peña and this was followed by the opening intermediate sprint at Becerreá which saw Nibali sneak off to win and get six seconds back on Wiggins' lead.
Then it was the Category 3 Alto de O Lago which saw Montaguti finish in second behind Intxausti before the Alto de Folgueiras de Aigas after 70kms which saw Le Lay take the ten points on offer.
David Moncoutie took six points and that climb and picking up another six points on the Puerto de Ancares, he now led Montaguti by nine seconds in the King Of The Mountains competition.
With 45kms to go, Wiggins had allowed some of his competitors for the red jersey to get away and that included Nibali who was in a second group on the road that was ten seconds ahead of Wiggins and two minutes behind the front group of twenty riders.
Moncoutie added three more points to his KOM tally when he was first over the Puerto de Lumeras as the race headed towards the second sprint on a sunny but windy day at Ocero which came after 131km.
Katusha's Daniel Moreno took that sprint with a move in the last fifty metres which had been started by Nicholas Roche who got a point for third place.
With ten kilometres to go, the group containing Wiggins had got the escpapers down to a minute and 46 seconds.
Attacks at the front started to happen. Mark de Maar tried his luck before Bakelandts crashed as this was going towards a sprint. Chris Anker Sorensen had a go with Roche and HTC Highroad's Michael Albasini who took the win in a time of 4hr 19mins and 39 seconds.
Eros Capecchi was second and Daniel Moreno added another six seconds finishing third. Nicholas Roche was fifth. Bradley Wiggins was 26th.
Wiggins (pictured below) keeps his leaders jersey some four seconds ahead of Nibali. Chris Froome is third, Nicholas Roche is 14th, Daniel Martin is 23rd and Ian Stannard is 144th.
"We've been trying really hard to get stage wins here," said Albasini to the HTC Highroad press office, "and we'll be hunting for wins all the way to the end of the season.
"It was a difficult day," he added. "There was one first category climb that was very tough, but I got over that okay and then I felt very confident for the sprint. I made sure that I controlled all the different attacks because I knew I was one of the fastest guys there.
"So far this tour he was in a break two times but he got nothing," explained Sport Director Jan Schaffrath. "Today he went again and it worked.
"We thought there was only one word for today," said Sport Director Jens Zemke. "Survive. But we knew there would be a breakaway and perhaps it would go to the finish and Alba said, 'maybe I go again.'
"I thought he might be tired from the other attempts and also the great work he did on the front yesterday for John [Degenkolb]," added Schaffrath, "but the break went early and he was so focused. He looked good the whole day over the two first category climbs and we knew when he got over the second one that he was in with a chance. He's a good sprinter so it was perfect for him out of a small break."
Stage 14 tomorrow is from Astorga to La Farrapona.
Pictures copyright of Covsupport News Service. Credit CNS/KM