Steve Cummings is making a habit of these late attacks to win bike races, with his latest effort seeing him surge away from the peloton in the final kilometre of the Tour of the Basque Country stage three.
The Brit, riding for Dimension Data, pulled off similar stunts with similar results on stage 14 of the 2015 Tour de France and stage four of the 2016 Tirreno-Adriatico, and he boosted his WorldTour palmares further in Lesaka.
Two members of the early break threatened to make it all the way to the line, with Sam Oomen (Giant-Alpecin) and Domingos Gonçalves (Caja Rural) taking a 30-second lead into the final climb.
They were swallowed up, however, as Daniel Navarro (Cofidis) tried his luck off the front. Some daredevil descending by the Spaniard saw him open up a 30-second lead over a four-man group that contained Simon Yates (Orica-GreenEdge).
The Yates group caught Navarro but were then immediately caught by the peloton with 2km to go. After a bit of jostling for position, another Cofidis rider tried his luck but was marked by Cummings.
But instead of bringing the escapee back to the peloton, Cummings put the hammer down himself, easily accelerating away from the peloton.
It was a close run thing on the line, though, with Simon Gerrans (Orica-GreenEdge) and Fabio Felline (Trek-Segafredo) leading the rest of the peloton over the line just over a bike length behind the celebrating Cummings.
Team Sky‘s Mikel Landa holds on to the leader’s yellow jersey heading into another rolling stage towards Orio on Thursday.
Tour of the Basque Country stage three, Vitoria-Gasteiz – Lesaka (193.5km)
1. Steve Cummings (GBr) Dimension Data, 5-01-57
2. Simon Gerrans (Aus) Orica-GreenEdge,
3. Fabio Felline (Ita) Trek-Segafredo,
4. Gianluca Brambilla (Ita) Etixx-Quick Step,
5. Giovanni Visconti (Ita) Movistar,
6. Simon Clarke (Aus) Cannondale,
7. Tony Gallopin (Fra) Lotto-Soudal,
8. Pello Bilbao (Esp) Caja Rural,
9. Sergei Chernetckii (Rus) Katusha,
10. Sergio Henao (Col) Team Sky, all st
Overall standings after stage three
1. Mikel Landa (Spa) Team Sky in 13-39-35
2. Wilco Kelderman (Ned) LottoNL-Jumbo at 1 sec
3. Sergio Henao (Col) Team Sky at 5 secs
4. Samuel Sanchez (Spa) BMC Racing at 9 secs
5. Alberto Contador (Spa) Tinkoff at 11 secs
6. Thibaut Pinot (Fra) FDJ at 13 secs
7. Rui Costa (Por) Lampre-Merida at 15 secs
8. Nairo Quintana (Col) Movistar at 15 secs
9. Robert Gesink (Ned) LottoNL-Jumbo at 15 secs
10. Sebastian Reichenbach (Swi) FDJ at 15 secs