Team Sky’s Rigoberto Uran missed out on victory by the narrowest of margins at the Vuelta a Espana after being pipped at the line by Warren Barguil (Argos-Shimano) in the battle for stage 16.
The Colombian climber, who finished second at the Giro d’Italia after beginning the race as domestique to Bradley Wiggins, was unable to prevent the young Frenchman from claiming his second victory of the 58th Spanish national tour.
Barguil added to a victory tally begun three days earlier on stage 13 by holding off a surging Uran, who had chased down the Frenchman on the final climb of the day.
Barguil said: “I attacked and on the way, with less than one kilometre to go, Uran joined me. He tried to attack me but I was still strong enough for the sprint and I knew I could have a chance to beat him in the sprint. It is great to beat such a strong rider.”
Elsewhere, the red jersey, Vincenzo Nibali (Astana), revealed the first cracks in his aura of invincibility after losing time to his principal rivals in the closing three kilometres of the race.
Nibali saw his lead slashed by 32 seconds after the men positioned directly behind him on general classification attacked at the denouement of the stage.
Chris Horner (Radioshack-Leopard), second on GC, Movistar’s Alejandro Valverde, who is third, and fourth-placed Joaquim Rodriguez (Katusha), all gained time on the Italian leader, who was, for perhaps the first time this season, unable to respond.
Tuesday will see the second and final rest day before the riders resume their journey to Madrid on the 189km flat stage from Calahorra to Burgos.
Vuelta a Espana 2013: stage 16 – result
1) Warren Barguil (FRA) – Argos-Shimano – 3.43.31
2) Rigoberto Uran (COL) – Team Sky – ST
3) Bartosz Huzarsku (POL) – NetApp-Endura +3″
4) Dominik Nerz (GER) – BMC Racing +8″
5) Jose Herrada (ESP) – Movistar +20″
6) Mikael Cherel (FRA) – Ag2r-La Mondiale +37″
7) Maciej Paterski (POL) – Canndonale – ST
8) Andre Fernando (POR) – Caja Rural +40″
9) Amets Txurruka (ESP) – Caja Rural +42″
10) Chris Anker Sorensen (DEN) – Saxo-Tinkoff +45″
1) Vincenzo Nibali (ITA) – Astana – 64.06.01
2) Christopher Horner (USA) – Radioshack-Leopard +28″
3) Alejandro Valverde (ESP) – Movistar +1.14
4) Joaquim Rodriguez (ESP) – Katusha +2.29
5) Domenico Pozzovivo (ITA) – Ag2r-La Mondiale +3.38
6) Nicolas Roche (IRL) – Saxo-Tinkoff +3.43
7) Thibaut Pinot (FRA) – FDJ +4.37
8) Leopold Konig (CZE) – NetApp-Endura +6.17
9) Samuel Sanchez (ESP) – Euskaltel-Euskadi +7.33
10) Tanel Kangert (EST) – Astana –