Rafal Majka of Poland was in imperious form in the mountains as he enjoyed a solo victory in stage 15 of the Vuelta a Espana on Sunday while Odd Christian Eiking held on to the leader's red jersey.

Majka and Maxim Van Gils formed an early break in the 197-km stage from Navalmoral de la Mata to El Barraco and were joined by Fabio Aru.

Van Gils soon faded as Aru and Majka worked together to extend the gap with the chasers but the Pole soon pulled ahead of the Italian to become the sole leader with 87km to go and comfortably saw out the remainder of the stage to finish one minute 27 seconds ahead of second-placed Steven Kruijswijk.

Christopher Hamilton came third, two minutes 19 seconds down, while Adam Yates was fourth, finishing the highest of the general classification contenders, two minutes 42 seconds back.

Norwegian rider Eiking came fifth, crossing the line along with the other overall contenders aside from Yates, preserving his 54-second lead over second-placed Guillaume Martin and reigning champion and race favourite Primoz Roglic, who is one minute 36 seconds behind in third.

The riders take the second and final rest day on Monday while racing resumes with Tuesday's flat stage before a return to the mountains on Wednesday, when Roglic will look to regain the overall lead.