ZARAGOZA, Spain—Colombian Juan Sebastián Molano sprinted to win the 12th stage of the Spanish Vuelta on Thursday, and American rival Sepp Kuss kept hold of the overall lead for the fifth straight day.
Molano was launched by UAE Team Emirates teammate Rui Oliveira over the final meters to win the 151-kilometer (94-mile) ride from Olvega to Zaragoza in northern Spain.
The 28-year-old Colombian also won a stage at last year’s Vuelta.
After three days of relatively flat terrain, the three-week race next faces one of its most highly anticipated stages on Day 13 when it crosses into France to ascend the Col du Tourmalet, a classic climb for the Tour de France.
Friday’s 135-kilometer (84-mile) mountain stage will be a showdown between the UAE Emirates and Jumbo-Visma teams, each with three riders in the top 10, and defending champion Remco Evenepoel of Soudal-Quickstep.
Kuss maintained a 26-second lead over Marc Soler in the overall standings.
Evenepoel is third, 1:09 behind, while three-time champion Primoz Roglic is 1:32 behind in fourth. Lenny Martinez, João Almeida, two-time Tour de France champion Jonas Vingegaard and Juan Ayuso are all within 2:25.
Kuss, Roglic and Vingegaard are Jumbo-Visma teammates, while Soler, Almeida and Ayuso are all on UAE Emirates.