Conti cruises to victory 34 minutes clear of plodding peloton
Valerio Conti claimed his maiden Grand Tour stage victory in comfortable fashion on a remarkable day at the Vuelta a Espana that saw the peloton finish 34 minutes off the pace.
Having broken clear as part of a group of 12, Lampre-Merida rider Conti made his decisive move with 19 kilometres of the 213.4km stage from Bilabo to Urdax to go, eventually crossing the line with a 55-second cushion over his nearest challengers.
"I knew the break would go all the way because we'd taken an enormous gap," said the stage 13 winner.
"I'd picked out today as one to go in the break and it was a good break.
"It's my first win in a Grand Tour. I didn't have best legs at the start today but I kept getting better as the day went on and I took my chance in the finale."
Danilo Wyss (BMC Racing Team) edged out Sergey Lagutin (Team Katusha) for second, with Michael Gogl (Tinkoff), Vergard Stake Laengen (IAM Cycling) and Yves Lampaert (Etixx-Quik Step) also part of that sprint.
Nairo Quintana's general classification lead was not in danger and the main contenders kept a pedestrian pace ahead of Saturday's challenging mountain stage.
The Movistar rider eventually led the peloton over the finish line more than half an hour - 33 minutes and 56 seconds to be exact - after Conti had celebrated victory but retains his 54-second overall advantage over Team Sky's Chris Froome.
Alejandro Valverde remains third in the race for the red jersey, one minute and five seconds adrift of team-mate Quintana.