Danny van Poppel won stage 12 of the Vuelta on Thursday following a sprint finish to the line.
On the menu was a 172.5 km race from Andorra to Lleida with the biggest absentee being Chris Froome due to a fractured foot he sustained the previous day.
With the title contenders looking for an easy day in the saddle and a sprint finish expected, it was no surprise that a break formed early on.
A quintet of escapees worked smoothly and efficiently together and managed to hold off the peloton for much further than the sprinters’ teams would have liked.
On the flat roads outside of Lleida the peloton made up the necessary ground and had the remnants of the break in its sight with the line fast approaching.
The break was ended with 200 metres to go leaving the sprinters to kick out for the win.
Van Poppel produced a superb late burst to emerged down the middle:
He stormed past the pack and over the line first for the biggest win of his career.
Italian Fabio Aru finished safely in the peloton to retain the race leader’s red jersey.