Simon Yates has one more mountain stage to pass in his bid for La Vuelta victory after stretching his lead by more than a minute with a superb ride on stage 19 to Andorra.
The English rider finished second to Frenchman Thibaut Pinot atop the Coll de la Rabassa, but successfully distanced his main rival Alejandro Valverde by over a minute to increase his advantage before Saturday's decisive stage 20 to a summit finish on the Coll de la Gallina in Santuario de Canolich.
The provisional general classification showed Yates with a lead of one minute 38 seconds over Movistar's Valverde, with LottoNL-Jumbo's Steven Kruijswijk third a further 20 seconds back.
Yates, 26, is seeking his first Grand Tour victory and what would be a fifth consecutive Grand Tour win for a British rider.
Etapa 19 | Stage 19 #LaVuelta18— La Vuelta (@lavuelta) September 14, 2018
🇪🇸 Vive el último kilómetro de la victoria de @ThibautPinot gracias a @CarrefourES
🇬🇧 Live the last km. of Pinot's victory thanks to @CarrefourES#CarrefourConLaVuelta pic.twitter.com/4qdS9cT2X6
Ireland's Nicolas Roche is 44th on the general classification for BMC Racing. He crossed the finish line in 68th today.
It was a second stage win for Groupama-FDJ's Pinot following his success on stage 15, but all eyes were on the fight between Yates and Valverde.
Movistar made the first move, sending Nairo Quintana up the road early on the 17km final climb to try to tempt Yates out. Kruijswijk and his team-mate George Bennett quickly responded but Yates initially sat in.
Pinot began to bridge over with 11km left but when Yates made his move with 10km remaining, Valverde had no answer.
Quintana dropped back for his team-mate but their chase began to fall apart when the Colombian suffered a puncture, while Yates continued to drive the pace at the front.
The gap quickly grew and it was clear Valverde had no response as the likes of Wilco Kelderman and then Rigoberto Uran left him behind.
Yates was happy to let Pinot take stage honours, knowing he has put himself in the box seat to effectively secure victory on Saturday before Sunday's processional stage into Madrid.