Ion Izagirre ceded his overall lead in the Tour of Poland on Friday, but is still well on course for an overall podium placing.
Aggressive Frenchman Christophe Riblon, seemingly in the form of his life, darted clear of the favourites on the last climb of the day to claim Izagirre leader's jersey. The Euskaltel rider had no trouble staying with the other favourites, though, coming in seventh.
That means Riblon has a potentially decisive 19-second buffer going into Saturday's ITT, while Izagirre is a single second ahead of Rafal Majka in third.
Talking post-stage, DS Gorka Gerrikagoitia was everything but downbeat despite losing the lead on the penultimate day.
"The team did a great job all day long", he told the team's website. "The attacks were going off everywhere, and the team responded magnificently. It was impossible to control all attacks, though, and Riblon was really strong there at the end.
"Ion is showing his excellent shape, and we head into the final day with all possibilities ahead of us. Today he did everything in his powers to cling onto the lead, and sitting second overall with one stage left is very good indeed. We've gotten through a very difficult stage, and now we're ready to fight for the podium in the time trial".
- (1, Darwin Atapuma (Colombia), 5:19:36)
- 7, Ion Izagirre, 0:22
- 25, Miguel Mínguez, 1:48
- 46, Ricardo Mestre, 14:23
- 66, Garikoitz Bravo, 17:57
- 92, Adrián Sáez, 27:05
- DNF: Robert Vrecer