French climbing specialist David Moncouti took victory in the 11th stage of the Tour of Spain Wednesday, a 167-km ride from Verin to La Manzaneda which featured the first mountaintop finish of the race.
Britain’s Bradley Wiggins took the overall leader’s red jersey from Sky teammate Christopher Froome.
Moncouti, of Cofidis, was part of a key breakaway group that took on the final 9km climb but launched a solo attack to finish the stage one minute and 18 seconds ahead of nearest rival Benat Intxausti of Movistar.
“I made this stage a priority. I wanted to get in the breakaway today and score points on the mountain stage. Let’s just say that the scenario unfolded just as I had dreamed,” the 36-year-old said.
It was Moncouti’s fourth stage win on the Tour of Spain following victories in 2008, 2009 and 2010.
Wiggins, who crashed out of the Tour de France in July with a broken collarbone, is now seven seconds ahead of Froome in the overall standings and 11 seconds ahead of Italy’s defending champion, Vincenzo Nibali of Liquigas, in third.
The Tour of Spain continues Thursday with a 167.3 km ride between Ponteareas and Pontevedra that is mostly flat and is expected to end in a sprint finish.
Vuelta a Espaa Stage 11
1. David Moncoutie (FRA/COF) 4:38min:00
2. Benat Intxausti (ESP/MOV) @ 1:18
3. Luis Leon Sanchez (ESP/RAB)
4. Mathias Frank (SUI/BMC) @ 1:36
5. Sergio Paulinho (POR/RSH) @ 1:43
6. Matteo Montaguti (ITA/ALM) @ 2:29
7. Amets Txurruka (ESP/EUS)
8. Aitor Prez (ESP/LAM) @ 2:55
9. Joaquin Rodriguez (ESP/KAT) @ 3:01
10. David Bernabu (ESP/ACA) @ 3:08