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Primoz Roglic , the reigning Vuelta a Espana champion, has taken the leader's red jersey with an emphatic solo win in stage 17.
Roglic , of the Jumbo-Visma team, broke away from the pack alongside Egan Bernal with 60 km remaining. He dropped the Colombian with 7.5km left to go alone up the climb and claim a third stage victory, one minute, 35 seconds ahead of the chasers.
Bernal, of Ineos, eventually finished the stage seventh after being caught by a chasing group. Roglic's American team mate Sepp Kuss took second spot while Australian Jack Haig, riding for Bahrain Victorious, finished fifth in the same time.
That left Haig two places higher in fourth overall, 3min:46secs behind Roglic. Sydney's Michael Storer picked up ten points to move into second in the King of the Mountains classification with 34 points, 17 behind Romain Bardet. Michael Matthews dropped to fifth in the points competition, Roglic overtaking him as the Slovenian climbed to second.
Another Australian, Luke Durbridge, had a good day in the Benelux Tour, coming third as part of a breakaway to be fourth overall.
In the Vuelta's general classification Roglic now has a 2:22 advantage over second-placed Enric Mas, of Movistar. Odd Christian Eiking, who had been in red at the start of the day, crashed on a descent, finishing 9min:20sec back.
"It was a really impressive day. When Primoz went with Bernal, the pace before that was already really hard," Kuss said.
"It was a brave move to go that far out, but I could tell he really wanted to do something today and he did it an impressive way. Tomorrow there's another crazy hard climb and anything can happen -- everyone will be tired after today."
Wednesday's vicious 186-km stage contained four major climbs, starting with the third-category Altu de Hortigueru inside the first 40km. It was on this first climb that an eight-man break was reeled in by the peloton as the rain began to pour down.
A large group of GC contenders remained together until the second ascent of the first-category Collada Llamena 60km from the end of the stage, when Bernal attacked and Roglic promptly followed.
The duo worked together until the early slopes of the hors-categorie Lagos de Codavonga climb before Roglic pulled away as the inclines reached 16%.
The race remains in the Asturian mountains on Thursday with another summit finish on the 162.6-km course from Salas to the Alto d'el Gamoniteiru.
In the Benelux Tour Dutchman Taco van Hoorn won the third stage, from Essen to Hoogerheide, ahead of Mathias Norsgaard. Durbridge was third in the same time to move up four places to fourth in the overall classification. Caleb Ewan was ninth in the stage.
"You don't get many opportunities to ride for the win, so I'm a bit disappointed," said Durbridge, "but the break was good and we all committed.
"I'm happy with my condition after a second day in the breakaway. I'm here to be aggressive because at the Benelux Tour, you get rewarded. I just want to race every day and not worry about the GC. I've done this race many times and the Kapelmuur stage is really hard and it could all come down to the final day. Hopefully I can be up there on GC."