Fabio Duarte – the U23 world champion in 2008 – pulled the double in Saturday’s summit finish to win the stage and claim the leader’s jersey at the Vuelta a Asturias in northern Spain.
Duarte, a lean climber from Café de Colombia, out-foxed the Spanish mountain goats on home roads to claim a 16-second victory ahead of teammate Alex Cano while overnight leader Beñat Intxausti trailed across the line third at 1:10 back.
Duarte, 23, poured it on up the final climb to the Alto del Acebo summit, attacking with about 5km to go to drop Intxausti and other pre-race favorites such as Santi Pérez (Loule-Loulelano) and Ezequiel Mosquera (Xacobeo-Galicia).
With teammate Cano protecting him from attacks from behind, Duarte crossed the line alone for his first major win on European roads and takes a small, but decisive lead going into Sunday’s finale.
Intxausti, who won Friday’s time trial to take the leader’s jersey, slipped to second at 19 seconds back while Pérez slotted into third overall at 50 seconds back.
Angel Vicioso (Andalucía-CajaSur) started in second but fell out of contention as he ceded more than three minutes in the grueling summit finish.
The race concludes Sunday with a challenging, 198.8km run from Fuentes de Narcea to Oviedo. The route tackles the steep, Cat. 1 Alto de San Lorenzo with 52km to go and hits the short, but very steep Cat. 1 Alto de Tenebredo with ramps as steep as 20 percent with 20km to go.