Torrevieja - Tadej Pogacar won the fourth stage and retook the overall lead of the Tour of Valencia on Saturday after breaking clear of his rivals on the final climb to snatch victory.
The Slovenian, who rides for UAE Emirates, attacked half-way up a brutal 5.1 kilometre climb at the end of a 170km run from Calp to Altea. Pogacar caught the lone survivor of a three-man breakaway, Greg Van Avermaet, on a slope where gradients reached 20 per cent.
Bahrain-McLaren rider Wout Poels gave chase but could not close the gap and finished second, at the head of a small knot of pursuers, six seconds back.
Teo Geoghan Hart, a Briton who rides for Ineos, was third. Overnight leader, Australian Jack Haig of Mitchelton Scott, finished fifth.
Rising star Pogacar, 21, won three mountain stages in the Vuelta a Espana last year.
He enters the final stage on Sunday, a largely flat 98km-run from Paterna to Valencia, leading Haig by six seconds.
Movistar's Alejandro Valverde, the Spanish veteran who was second at the start of the day, fell to 10th place.
Tour of Valencia stage four results:
1. Tadej Pogacar (SLO/UAE) 4hr 22min 3sec, 2. Wout Poels (NED/TBM) at 6sec, 3. Tao Geoghegan Hart (GBR/INS) same time, 4. Daniel Martin (IRL/ISN) s.t., 5. Jack Haig (AUS/MIT) s.t.
1. Tadej Pogacar (SLO/UAE) 16hr 38min 28sec, 2. Jack Haig (AUS/MIT) at 6sec, 3. Tao Geoghegan Hart (GBR/INS) s.t., 4. Daniel Martin (IRL/ISN) 13sec, 5. Dylan Teuns (BEL/BAH) 23sec