MADRID, Aug. 29 (Xinhua) -- Rafal Majka of UAE Team Emirates made a brilliant solo ride of almost 100 kilometers to win the 15th stage of the Vuelta a Espana on Saturday.
The Polish climber, who has spent most of the past two years as a foil to Tour de France winner Tadej Pogacar, produced a magnificent ride on the 197-kilometer stage between Navalmoral de la Mata and El Barraco to the west of Madrid.
Majka showed his tactical intelligence as well as his strength to win a stage four years after his last success in La Vuelta, and picked the moment to launch his attack to perfection.
The stage got off to a frantic start with a 25-man breakaway including Jumbo Visma's Sepp Kuss, and the presence of race favorite Primoz Roglic's key support riders prompted the Movistar team to launch a frantic pursuit to close it down.
This meant the average speed in the first hour was over 51km/h before the race calmed down and another group was able to get away, with Majka attacking on the first category Puerto de San Bernardo.
He was able to open a lead of around a minute and a half over Steven Kruijswijk, with the main peloton over five minutes behind.
Kruijswijk kept up his chase and eventually finished a minute and 27 seconds behind, but Majka was the stronger rider and extended his lead on the last climb of the day - the Puerto de San Juan de Nava, which, although eight kilometers long, had an average gradient of less than four percent.
In the peloton, the Intermarche-Wanty team of overall leader Odd Eiking did an excellent job to allow the Norwegian to maintain his 54-second lead over Guillaume Martin (Cofidis) and 1:36 over Roglic in the overall classification.
Monday is the second rest day in the race, which moves to the north of Spain for the decisive final week where the Picos de Europa mountains will probably decide the winner.