Overnight leader Emanuel Buchmann (Bora-Hansgrohe) was distanced on the category 1 ascent of Azurki by a five-man group featuring Izagirre, Yates, Jakob Fuglsang (Astana), Dan Martin and Tadej Pogacar (UAE Team Emirates).
Although there were more than 65km to go, this move had the firepower to hold off a disorganised chase, where Buchmann had to shoulder the bulk of the pace-making on the remaining climbs.
Up front, Martin tried to distance Izagirre on the final classified ascent of Asensio, but was unable to break the Astana man’s resistance. On the run-in to the finish, Yates took advantage of a short, unclassified ascent with 3km to go to punch his way clear, and he held off his fellow escapees by one second to claim the honours.
Martin won the sprint for second ahead of Fuglsang to secure second place overall, 29 seconds down on Izagirre. Fuglsang originally looked to have claimed the third step of the podium, 36 seconds down on his teammate, but the placing eventually passed to Buchmann after the commissaires amended his finishing time on the stage after he was misdirected in the final kilometre.
Buchmann had gallantly cut his deficit back in the closing kilometres and was poised to rescue a podium place only for his group to be sent down the deviation for race vehicles in the closing kilometre. Although the German quickly got back on track, he came home 1:36 down on Yates, which initally relegated him to 4th overall, 43 seconds down on Izagirre, and just 7 seconds shy of the podium.
How it unfolded
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