The defending champion, Primoz Roglic, surrendered the Vuelta a España leader’s jersey to Odd Christian Eiking (Intermarché-Wanty-Gobert Materiaux) after a minor crash on Tuesday. Australia’s Michael Storer (Team DSM) won the stage with a solo surge.
The hilly 10th stage featured the Category 2 Puerto de Almáchar climb immediately before a downhill finish to Rincón de la Victoria, playing into the hands of breakaway specialists. The peloton began to split after 50km and a 31-strong rider group peeled away to the front, including Storer and Eiking.
The Australian launched an attack on the ascent and never looked back, finishing 22 seconds ahead of Mauri Vansevenant (Deceuninck-Quick-Step) in second and Clement Champoussin (AG2R-Citroën) in third to collect his second Vuelta stage victory this year. Eiking came fifth to take the red jersey, 58sec clear of the second-placed Guillaume Martin (Cofidis).
The Norwegian is an unexpected overall leader – his best Grand Tour result to date is a 77th-place finish at the 2016 Vuelta – but neither he nor Martin appear likely to stay in the hunt for victory once the race returns to the mountains this week.
Roglic is a further 2min 17sec behind after taking too many risks on his descent as he tried to claw time back in the overall standings. On a tight bend, the Olympic gold medallist lost his back wheel and fell to the ground. He quickly got back in the saddle and rejoined the general classification group containing Enric Mas, Miguel Ángel López and Jack Haig.
That group crossed the line 11min 49sec behind Storer but at least put 37sec on the Ineos Grenadiers rider Egan Bernal. The Giro champion is now 4min 46sec off the overall lead and 2min 29sec behind Roglic.