Ben Swift (Team Sky) continued his rich vein of form with victory on the hilly fifth stage of the Tour of the Basque Country on Friday.
The 26 year-old Yorkshireman made a select group of 22 riders at the end of a typically lumpy stage in Spain before pipping Alejandro Valverde (Movistar) and Michal Kwiatkowski (Omega Pharma-Quickstep) to the line in Xemein.
Such a result against strong opposition continues Swift's sensational start to the season, coming hot on the heels of a stage win at the Settimana Coppi e Bartali and third at Milan-San Remo.
Swift's win also took him to the top of the points classification leaderboard, while Simon Yates (Orica-GreenEdge) finished 16th on the stage to keep 15th overall.
Alberto Contador (Tinkoff-Saxo) finished ninth on the stage to keep hold of the race lead with one stage, a 25.9km time trial, remaining on Saturday.
Tour of the Basque Country 2014, stage five: Eibar to Xemein, 160.2km
1. Ben Swift (GBr) Team Sky in 3-56-56
2. Alejandro Valverde (Spa) Movisar
3. Michal Kwiatkowski (Pol) Omega Pharma-Quickstep
4. Tom Jelte Slagter (Ned) Garmin-Sharp
5. Damiano Cunego (Ita) Lampre-Merida
6. Cyril Gautier (Fra) Europcar
7. Jonathan Hivert (Fra) Belkin
8. Jean-Christophe Peraud (Fra) Ag2r-La Mondiale
9. Alberto Contador (Spa) Tinkoff-Saxo
10. Cadel Evans (Aus) BMC all at s.t.
16. Simon Yates (GBr) Orica-GreenEdge at s.t.
39. Adam Yates (GBr) Orica-GreenEdge at 4-39
120. Josh Edmondson (GBr) at 18-09
Overall standings after stage five
1. Alberto Contador (Spa) Tinkoff-Saxo in 20-30-31
2. Alejandro Valverde (Spa) Movisar at 12 secs
3. Damiano Cungeo (Ita) Lampre-Merida at 36 secs
4. Cadel Evans (Aus) BMC
5. Jean Christophe Peraud (Fra) Ag2r-La Mondiale all at s.t.
15. Simon Yates (GBr) Orica-GreenEdge at 1-37
Rotherham sprinter Ben Swift follows podium spot in Milan-San Remo with win in Italian stage race
Ben Swift says he felt 'better and better' as the 300km Milan-San Remo progressed, eventually placing third
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