Although the penultimate stage of this year’s Tour of Spain offered a flat finish the days action to Vitoria took the peloton over some gruelling climbs.
A couple of first category ascents in addition to a category two and three climb gave some the opportunity for a breakaway win late in the event.
Rabobank’s Carlos Barredo was looking the liveliest out in front but his stellar breakaway efforts turned out to be in vein.
Behind in the main bunch overall leader Juan Jose Cobo was all smiles wearing red as he knew the title was just a day’s ride away.
The peloton was all back together for the mass dash which was won by Leopard Trek’s Daniele Bennati.
But the main attraction was Cobo as he now looks good for the overall win.
Bennati of Italy prevailed in a long sprint over Enrico Gasparotto of the Astana team and Liquigas rider Damiano Caruso.
Overall Cobo retained his 13 second lead over Britain’s Chris Froome with just a 97 kilometre trek into Madrid remaining on Sunday.