Reus - South African rider Daryl Impey claimed stage six of the Tour of Catalonia on Saturday as Alejandro Valverde extended his overall lead to 53 seconds over Alberto Contador.
However, three-time Tour de France champion Chris Froome plunged from second place to well outside the top 10 after losing over 20 minutes on the 189.7km stage from Tortosa to Reus.
Impey edged out Valverde in a sprint finish to the line to deny the Spaniard his third stage win of the Tour in 4hrs 34mins 14 secs with Frenchman Arthur Vichot in third.
The damage for Froome in the general classification was done early in the day as he missed out as a lead group of around 50 riders including Valverde and Contador formed on the first descent on an undulating stage after just 25 kilometres.
Froome, accompanied by his entire team, was unable to bridge a gap which grew throughout the stage leaving him out of contention.
"We managed to catch out the Sky riders at the back," Valverde told Spanish TV station Teledeporte.
"There was a lot of collaboration between the teams."
In the lead group Valverde was well-protected by his Movistar teammates from any attacks by Contador as he edged towards a second overall win in Catalonia.
And he gained an extra six second on Contador thanks to the bonus time on offer from finishing second in the stage.
All Movistar riders were handed a minute's penalty for infringements by Jose Joaqun Rojas in Tuesday's team time trial.
However, despite that setback Valverde's victories on stage three and five mean he just has to negotiate the 138.7km stage around Barcelona on Sunday to add to his 2009 win in Catalonia.
"In theory there shouldn't be any problems, but there will be attacks for sure" added Valverde.
Results from the sixth stage of the Tour of Catalonia, a 189.7km ride from Tortosa to Reus on Saturday:
1. Daryl Impey (RSA/ORI) 189.7 km in 4h34min 14sec, 2. Alejandro Valverde (ESP/MOV), 3. Arthur Vichot (FRA/FDJ), 4. Petr Vakoc (CZE/ETI), 5. Alessandro De Marchi (ITA/BMC), 6. Nick van der Lijke (NED/ROP), 7. Dario Cataldo (ITA/AST), 8. Lennard Kmna (GER/GIA), 9. Cyril Gautier (FRA/ALM), 10. Daniel Martin (IRL/ETI) all same time
1. Alejandro Valverde (ESP/Movistar) 22h18:35, 2. Alberto Contador (ESP/TRE) at 0:53, 3. Marc Soler (ESP/MOV) 1:06, 4. Adam Yates (GBR/ORI) 1:21, 5. Tejay Van Garderen (USA/BMC) 1:24, 6. Daniel Martin (IRL/ETI) 2:19, 7. Steven Kruijswijk (NED/LNL) 2:46, 8. Carlos Verona (ESP/ORI) 2:50, 9. George Bennett (NZL/LNL) 2:51, 10. Romain Bardet (FRA/ALM) 2:55.