Benat Intxausti of Spain won the 16th stage of the Giro d'Italia, while favourite Vincenzo Nibali retained the overall lead as the race entered the final week.
Intxausti won in a time of 5 hours, 52 minutes, 48 seconds, along the hilly 148-mile stage from Valloire in France to Ivrea in northern Piedmont, beating Tanel Kangert and Przemyslaw Niemiec in a final sprint.
Nibali, who has finished third and second in his last two Giros, maintained his lead of 1 min 26 sec over Cadel Evans and remains firmly on course to claim overall victory in Brescia on Sunday. Fellow Italian Mauro Santambrogio started the day fourth but lost more than two minutes to slip to sixth.
Intxausti, who wore the leader's pink jersey for a stage last week, held off the challenge in the final stages to secure a second successive stage victory for his team Movistar.
Today's 17th stage is a flat 158 miles from Busseto to Cherasco. It could be ideal for Mark Cavendish – who was celebrating his 28th birthday – to claim a fifth victory in this year's race.
Meanwhile, Sylvain Georges' failed doping test has been confirmed following analysis of his "B" sample, the International Cycling Union (UCI) has announced. The 29-year-old Frenchman withdrew from the Giro last week after being notified by the UCI that he had tested positive for Heptaminol.
Overall standings after stage 16
1 V Nibali (It) Astana, 67:55:36
2 C Evans (Aus) BMC +1:26"
3 R Uran (Col) Sky +2:46"Reuse content