POLA DE LENA, Spain : Miguel Angel Lopez (Movistar) surged to victory on stage 18 of the Vuelta a Espana on Thursday as race leader Primoz Roglic (Jumbo-Visma) all but sealed a second consecutive Vuelta crown.
The Colombian, who started the day third overall, rode away from the pack on the hors-category Altu D'el Gamoniteiru to secure a solo triumph and all but ensure he will also finish on the podium on Sunday in Santiago de Compostela.
Slvenia's Red Jersey holder Roglic finished the stage in second place, 14 seconds behind Lopez and six seconds ahead of Lopez's team mate Enric Mas, who is second in the overall standings and came third in the stage.
The brutal 162.6 km stage saw plenty of breakaways and attacks with Australian Michael Storer (DSM) distancing himself from the rest, taking the King of the Mountains polka dot jersey in the process as he hit the final climb first.
The stage was always set to be decided on the slopes of the steep Gamoniteiru, on its Vuelta debut, and so it transpired.
Storer was caught by David De La Cruz (UAE Team Emirates) with seven km to go as the riders rode into the rain and mist.
The Spaniard was then caught by Lopez, who attacked alone from the chasing group to claim a third Vuelta career stage win and a first at this year's race.