Race leader Tom Dumoulin showed he is ready for the final week in the mountains with a superb ascent to take his second stage win of the 2017 Giro d'Italia.
Dumoulin has been in the maglia rosa since his sensational time trial victory on Tuesday and his triumph atop Santuario di Oropa was just as impressive.
The shortest stage on this year's Giro was relatively flat until the final 11 kilometres and that is when the action started, with Dumoulin flexing his muscles despite the increasing gradients.
Team Sky's Diego Rosa was first to try his luck on Oropa but he was quickly swallowed up by a group containing Nairo Quintana and Ilnur Zakarin.
Pre-race favourite Quintana then made his move but he was unable to pull clear and eventually Dumoulin's group reeled him in.
Rather than settle into a rhythm with men around him Dumoulin opted to push, Zakarin trying to stay with him only to see the Dutchman find one last bit of energy to take the stage win and what could be crucial bonus seconds in the general classification battle.
"Of course you dream about hitting back," said the race leader. "I knew that they would attack and they did. It was very hard but I was always with my focus and I was quite relaxed.
"I couldn't follow the first attack from Quintana so I had to follow my own pace a little bit. I came closer and closer and in the end I still had something left for the finish. It was incredible."
GOOD DAY/BAD DAY
For Dumoulin to take the bonus seconds for winning the stage will be a huge boost for the Team Sunweb rider, extending his advantage further as the third week - and a maiden grand tour win - looms large.
While it was disappointing for Quintana to be distanced late on, Dumoulin's surge really dealt a hammer blow to the GC hopes of Vincenzo Nibali and Bauke Mollema.
Nibali was dropped with 1.3km to go and lost just under a minute, while Mollema's attempts to stay with the race leader fell by the way side as Dumoulin sensationally upped the tempo - the Trek Segafredo rider falling from third to sixth after losing nearly two minutes.
Meanwhile, it was a good day for Andre Greipel's legs, although not his Giro hopes, as the sprinter ensured he will be fresh for the Tour de France by withdrawing from the race before the big climbs come into contention.
1. Tom Dumoulin (Team Sunweb) 3:02.33 seconds
2. Ilnur Zakarin (Katusha-Alpecin) +0.03s
3. Mikel Landa (Team Sky) +0.09s
4. Nairo Quintana (Movistar) +0.14s
5. Thibaut Pinot (FDJ) +0.35s
1. Tom Dumoulin (Team Sunweb) 59:31.17s
2. Nairo Quintana (Movistar) +2.47s
3. Thibaut Pinot (FDJ) +3.25s
4. Vincenzo Nibali (Bahrain-Merida) +3.40s
5. Ilnur Zakarin (Katusha-Alpecin) +4.24s
1. Fernando Gaviria (Quick-Step Floors) 315
2. Jasper Stuyven (Trek Segafredo) 192
3, Sam Bennett (Bora-Hansgrohe) 117
KING OF THE MOUNTAINS
1. Tom Dumoulin (Team Sunweb) 51
2. Omar Fraile (Dimension Data) 49
3. Jan Polanc (UAE Team Emirates) 46
The steep uphill finish on Saturday serves as a pre-cursor for the peloton as they gear up for the gruelling final week in the mountains.
Stage 15 from Valdengo to Bergamo precedes the final rest day as the riders get themselves ready for the mountains. The route only has two categorised climbs so will not be too taxing on the legs.