FARO DE ESTACA DE BARES. MANON, Spain (Reuters) - Spanish rider Jesus Herrada became the overall leader of the Vuelta a Espana on Thursday while Frenchman Alexandre Geniez won stage 12 with a nail-biting sprint at the finish line to pip Team Sky's Dylan van Baarle to victory.
Cofidis rider Herrada, 28, took the red jersey from Briton Simon Yates after joining a second breakaway group which finished two minutes 32 seconds behind Geniez and over nine minutes ahead of Yates and the other general classification hopefuls.
Herrada holds an impressive lead of three minutes 32 seconds over Yates, who slipped to second place, while Spaniard Alejandro Valverde is now third, a further second behind, and Nairo Quintana dropped to fourth.
Geniez edged ahead in the final few metres of the 180.1km flat stage from Mondonedo to Faro de Estaca de Bares. Manon to beat Van Baarle by half a wheel and grab a third victory at the Vuelta after winning stages in 2013 and 2016.
There was further pain for Dutchman Van Baarle, who looked visibly disappointed at narrowly missing out on the stage win and crashed into a photographer shortly after crossing the finish line.
The Vuelta returns to the mountains in Friday's stage 13, a 174.8km route from Candas Carreno to Valle de Sabero. La Camperona with a summit finish.
(Reporting by Richard Martin; Editing by Toby Davis)