Sergio Henao (Sky) won the third stage of the Tour of the Basque Country to move into the overall lead.
Henao put in a late attack from a reduced group of favourites to bridge up to escapees Carlos Betancur (Ag2r) and Giampaolo Caruso (Katusha). Henao initially came around the two breakaways, but fellow Colombian Betancur managed to keep in touch and then set up a slow-motion side-by-side sprint on the 21 per cent gradient.
Henao threw his bike forward, touching elbows with Betancur, much to the Ag2r man’s distress – but the result stood. Caruso came in for third.
Alberto Contado, whose Saxo-Tinokff squad had done a sizeable amount of work lower down on the climb, looked to be struggling in the finale but stayed in contact with a small group also containing Richie Porte (Sky) to finish seventh at 10 seconds.
Henao takes over the race lead, eight seconds ahead of Nairo Quintana (Movistar) and 10 second ahead of third-placed Porte.
Three stages in the WorldTour-level race remain, two hilly road stages and a final, decisive 24-kilometre time trial on Saturday (April 6) in Beasain.
Tour of the Basque Country 2013, stage three: Vitoria-Gasteiz to Trapagaran, 168km
1. Sergio Henao (Col) Sky in 3-54-22
2. Carlos Betancur (Col) Ag2r at same time
3. Giampaolo Caruso (Ita) Katusha at 5 secs
4. Nairo Quintana (Col) Movistar at 8 secs
5. Diego Ulissi (Ita) Lampre-Merida at 10 secs
6. Richie Porte (Aus) Sky
7. Alberto Contador (Spa) Saxo-Tinkoff
8. Simon Spilak (Slo) Katusha at same time
9. Igor Anton (Spa) Euskaltel-Euskadi at 16 secs
10. Samuel Sanchez (Spa) Euskaltel-Euskadi at 21 secs
Overall classification after stage three
1. Sergio Henao (Col) Sky
2. Nairo Quintana (Col) Movistar at 8 secs
3. Richie Porte (Aus) Sky at 10 secs
4. Alberto Contador (Spa) Saxo-Tinkoff at 10 secs
5. Giampaolo Caruso (Ita) Katusha at 10 secs
6. Simon Spilak (Slo) Katusha at 10 secs
7. Jakob Fuglsang (Den) Astana at 21 secs
8. Pieter Weening (Ned) Orica-GreenEdge at 21 secs
9. Jesus Herrada (Spa) Movistar at 21 secs
10. Carlos Betancur (Col) Ag2r at 21 secs
Slo-mo photo finish: Sergio Henao pips Carlos Betancur
Tour of the Basque Country 2013: Related links
Stage two: Gavazzi moves into lead
Tour of the Basque Country stage two photo gallery
Tour of the Basque Country stage one photo gallery