Stage eight – Talavera de le Reina to San Lorenzo de El Escorial, 177.3km
1. Joaquim Rodriguez – Katusha (4hours 49mins 01secs)
2. Michele Scarponi – Lampre (+9s)
3. Bauke Mollema – Rabobank (+9s)
19. Bradley Wiggins – Team Sky (+20)
20. Chris Froome - Team Sky (+20)
Bradley Wiggins and Chris Froome both stayed right in the mix at the Vuelta a Espana as Joaquim Rodríguez (Katusha) made light of a brutal final climb to win stage eight and move into the overall lead.
Rodriguez looked the man to beat before the 177.3 kilometres stage from Talavera de le Reina to San Lorenzo de El Escorial which featured four categorised climbs as well as a short but steep ascent to the finish line which included gradients of up to 28%.
And it was inside that final kilometre that the Spaniard, set up by his hard-working Katusha team, made his move. He surged past Michele Scarponi (Lampre) and never looked like being caught, eventually crossing the line nine seconds ahead of Scarponi and Bauke Mollema (Rabobank).
Steven de Jongh, Team Sky Sports Director:
"Brad looks good and Chris does too but the whole team did well today to help them. It was really steep at the end there and on those narrow streets it's even more of a challenge.
"Brad was also behind what was almost a crash involving Carlos Sastre who went off the road and then came back on just in front of him. Brad lost a few metres but he did really well to work his way back into position and then he and Chris were able to deal with that last climb.
"Unfortunately Morris [Possoni] crashed twice but he kept on going and did a good job for the other boys which was good to see.
"And CJ [Sutton] had a better day after not feeling so good for a few days so that looks hopeful. Let’s hope he can get through tomorrow and then he’s got a time trial and a rest day which just gives him a bit of space to recover more fully."