Juan Jose Cobo rode himself into the leaders red jersey with victory in the 15th stage of the Vuelta a España this afternoon.
This 142.2 long stage from Avilés to Alto de l'Angliru, a mountain considered to be one of Spain's most gruelling on a bike. The last time it was used in La Vuelta, Alberto Contador won in 2007.
The stage featured two sprints and three climbs for race leader Bradley Wiggins, who was not making any pre-stage predictions but felt that he had the advantage, and the rest of the field to over-come.
The first sprint came after 45.6km at Alto de la Cabruñana and saw Garmin rider Andrew Talansky take the four points on offer Geschke and Champion with whom he was in a three man break after Sylvain Chavanel had put in an early attack.
After 79km, the first climb of the day was the Category 2 Alto de Tenebredo and Skil Shimano's German rider Simon Geschke was first over the summit to take the maximum five points on offer ahead of Talansky and Champion who were five minutes and twenty eight seconds ahead of the peleton.
Talansky took the second intermediate sprint at Mieres but he was soon swallowed up by the peleton and only Simon Geschke was out in front with a nine second lead with 27kms to go.
That lead soon ended and David Moncoutie and Carlos Sastre got away to be first over the Category One Alto del Cordal. Ireland's Daniel Martin made the bridge and was third on that climb to join them along with Bruseghin at the front of the race with 14kms left to ride today and heading for the 1525m Alto de l'Angliru.
Three kilometres later, they were caught. Geox rider Carlos Sastre, some six minutes and fifty seconds down on Wiggins, went away once again, getting fourteen seconds ahead of Barredo and twenty seconds ahead of a group of 23 riders which contained Wiggins, Froome, Martin and Nicholas Roche.
Igor Anton worked his way to the front and took control. He was not a threat to Wiggins but JJ Cobo who was five seconds behind Anton certainly was. Daniel Martin gave chase as Cobo caught up to Anton.
Cobo was out front on his own whilst Wiggins and Froome (pictured below) were fifteen seconds back with Martin and Anton who had dropped back.
The latter dropped back as Wiggins (pictured below) and Froome kept up their pursuit along with| Menchov, Poels and Rodriquez. They were twenty five seconds back with four kilometres to go.
Cobo was giving it everything he had in a bid to go into the final week as the race leader. He stretched his lead to forty seconds with 2.5kms left.
With a kilometre to go, Wiggins dropped back due to a mechanical and fell to a minute behind Cobo who took the 15 points for the climb over the Alto de l'Angliru with 600m left and won the stage in a time of 4hr 1 min and 55 seconds and put himself into the leader's red jersey.
Poels was second and Menchov third some 48 seconds back. Froome was fourth 48 seconds back whilst Bradley Wiggins came in 1,21 back in fifth. Daniel Martin finished 11th.
Geox's Cobo now leads the race by twenty seconds from Froome and 46 seconds from Wiggins. Daniel Martin is 16th with Nicholas Roche 20th and Ian Stannard 141st out of 178 riders.
Tomorrow is a rest day before Tuesday's 203km stage from Villa Romana La Olmeda to Haro.
Pictures copyright of Tour Of Spain/Graham Watson