Tom Dumoulin (Giant-Alpecin) grabbed the Vuelta a España leader's jersey with both hands after an emphatic performance in the stage 17 time trial, winning by over a minute over Maciej Bodnar.
The Dutchman crossed the line in 46-01, with Fabio Aru (Astana) putting in the performance of his life to finish just 1-54 down and trail by three seconds in the overall standings
Tinkoff-Saxo's Bodnar was in the leader's hotseat for much of the day, having been the 18th rider to roll down the ramp at 13:51 local time.
Bodnar's teammate and fellow Pole Rafal Majka was thought to be a threat to take the leader's jersey on the stage, but at the first checkpoint he even trailed Esteban Chaves (Orica-GreenEdge) - not known for his time trialling.
Alejandro Valverde (Movistar) put in a phenomenal ride over the 38.7km course, coming home just four seconds down on Bodnar. Seconds later, though, Dumoulin stamped his authority on the course once more, passing the second checkpoint 38 seconds faster than Bodnar.
Aru, meanwhile, passed the checkpoint 1-44 down on Dumoulin, with Joaquim Rodriguez (Katusha) struggling further back down the road - his red jersey quickly slipping off his back as he crossed the second marker 2-38 down on the Dutchman.
Nairo Quintana (Movistar) showed his progress against the clock by crossing the line just 30 seconds back on his teammate, Valverde.
Dumoulin thundered across the line as his rivals lost more time out on the course. The Giant-Alpecin rider's time came and went for Majka with the Pole still several kilometres from the finish line.
Aru, though, gave up just 1-54 to Dumoulin, seeing him sitting just three seconds back on the Dutchman, surely leaving him the favourite to take the overall title in Madrid on Sunday.
Red jersey holder on the day, Rodriguez, saw his hopes fade away - finishing over three minutes down on Dumoulin, which sees him now sitting 1-15 down.
Vuelta a España stage 17, Burgos-Burgos (38.7km)
1. Tom Dumoulin (Ned) Giant-Alpecin, 46-01
2. Maciej Bodnar (Pol) Tinkoff-Saxo, at 1-04
3. Alejandro Valverde (Esp) Movistar, at 1-08
4. Vasil Kiryienka (Blr) Team Sky, at 1-31
5. Jerome Coppel (Fra) IAM Cycling, at 1-32
6. Nairo Quintana (Col) Movistar, at 1-33
7. Romain Sicard (Fra) Europcar, at 1-36
8. Nelson Oliveira (Por) Lampre-Merida, at 1-38
9. Steve Cummings (GBr) MTN-Qhubeka, at 1-40
10. Fabio Aru (Ita) Astana, at 1-54
12. Geraint Thomas (GBr) Team Sky, at 2-28
17. Rafal Majka (Pol) Tinkoff-Saxo, at 2-38
30. Joaquim Rodriguez (Esp) Katusha, at 3-06
Overall standings after 17 stages
1. Tom Dumoulin (Ned) Giant-Alpecin, 68-40-36
2. Fabio Aru (Ita) Astana, at 3s
3. Joaquim Rodriguez (Esp) Katusha, at 1-15
4. Rafal Majka (Pol) Tinkoff-Saxo, at 2-22
5. Nairo Quintana (Col) Movistar, at 2-53
6. Alejandro Valverde (Esp) Movistar, at 3-15
7. Esteban Chaves (Col) Orica-GreenEdge, at 3-30
8. Dani Moreno (Esp) Katusha, at 3-46
9. Mikel Nieve (Esp) Astana, at 4-10
10. Louis Meintjes (RSA) MTN-Qhubeka, at 6-10
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Stuart Clarke is a News Associates trained journalist who has worked for the likes of the British Olympic Associate, British Rowing and the England and Wales Cricket Board, and of course Cycling Weekly. His work at Cycling Weekly has focused upon professional racing, following the World Tour races and its characters.
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