Defending champion Primoz Roglic strengthened his grip on the Vuelta a Espana after finishing second on stage 16 in Ciudad Rodrigo.
The Slovenian was pipped by stage winner Magnus Cort in a chaotic sprint finish but picked up six bonus seconds to extend his overall lead to 45 seconds over Richard Carapaz of Ineos Grenadiers.
Roglic (Team Jumbo-Visma) now only needs to successfully negotiate Saturday's penultimate mountain stage prior to the ceremonial finish in Madrid on Sunday.
Ireland's Dan Martin (Israel Start-Up Nation) remains fourth overall, one minute and 48 seconds behind Roglic, after his 22nd-place finish finish. Sam Bennett (Deceuninck-Quickstep) was 100th on the race to the Salamancan city.
Frenchman Remi Cavagna (Deceuninck Quick-Step) had launched a solo effort for the line as the last man standing from a five-man breakaway which dictated much of the stage.
But Cavagna was overhauled in the final kilometres, and Cort timed his sprint to perfection to make it over the line first swiftly followed by Roglic.