Richard Carapaz regained the overall leader's red jersey from Primoz Roglic in the Vuelta a Espana, opening up a 10-second advantage after Sunday's stage 12 up the punishing Alto de l'Angliru, as Hugh Carthy pulled off a heroic solo victory.

Ireland's Dan Martin produced a strong ride, finishing seventh in the stage but Carthy's victory means the Briton leaps above him into third place in the general classification. 

Martin is currently sitting in fourth spot in general classification, 35 seconds behind the leader Carapaz.

Briton Carthy pulled clear of Aleksandr Vlasov and Enric Mas in the final kilometre just as the climb began to ease and accelerated towards the finish line to claim his first stage win at a grand tour.

Carthy crossed the line 16 seconds ahead of the Russian and the Spaniard, who came second and third, while Carapaz also finished 16 seconds down in fourth but missed out on bonus seconds by failing to get on the podium.

Ecuadorian Carapaz pulled off a series of attacks on Roglic over the final two kilometres and the Slovenian dug deep at first before running out of energy as the gap widened, but he managed to limit the damage once the brutal climb lessened towards the summit.

The 109-km stage featured five categorised climbs and culminated up the Alto de l'Angliru, widely regarded as the toughest ascent in pro cycling.

Sunday's route is the shortest non-time-trial stage of the Vuelta but undoubtedly the most punishing, featuring gradients of up to 24% in the final three kilometres.

The riders will take a well-earned second rest day on Monday, with the action resuming on Tuesday with an individual time trial.

The Vuelta, which has been shortened from its usual 21 stages to 18, finishes next Sunday in Madrid.