Bradley Wiggins and Chris Froome both delivered quite brilliant performances to make the top five behind Dan Martin (Garmin-Cervelo) on an exhilarating ninth stage of the Vuelta a Espana.
The 183 kilometres stage from Villacastin to Sierra de Bejar had been expected to again favour overall leader Joaquim Rodríguez (Katusha), with the final climb up to the ski resort at La Covatilla always set to be decisive.
It was on that ascent that Martin and Nicolas Roche (AG2R) attacked with just under 5km remaining but rather than the likes of Rodriguez leading the chase it was Froome and Wiggins who then perfectly exploited crosswinds in the final 3km to the summit to blast the race to pieces.
Froome put in a huge turn on the front to first reel in the escape duo and then put distance into the rest before Wiggins took over between the 2km mark and the flamme rouge - and for a moment it looked as if he was going to ride everyone off his wheel and take the stage win.
But Martin was one of just a handful of riders who were able to stay with the Team Sky duo and he pounced past in the closing stages to sprint to a first Grand Tour success.
Bauke Mollema (Rabobank) went with him and the time gained with his second place proved enough to snatch the leader's jersey by a second from Rodriguez.
Juan José Cobo (Geox) was third, with Wiggins four seconds back in fourth and Froome a further three seconds behind him in fifth.
It was then a question of how much time they had gained on the remaining GC contenders and defending champion Vincenzo Nibali (Liquigas) limited his losses as he came in next, 11 seconds behind Martin, but Rodriguez was 50 seconds adrift.
It was an astonishing stage and the perfect boost for Wiggins and Froome ahead of Monday's 47km time trial around Salamanca.
The GC shake-up saw Wiggins move into 13th, exactly a minute behind Mollema, with Froome a place and three seconds further back.
Time trial mode
Not surprisingly Wiggins was delighted with how the stage had panned out, telling us: "Today had originally been about me trying to limit my losses as much as possible to guys like Van den Broeck and Rodriguez but I surprised myself.
"I didn’t think I’d be as good as that as it was the first all-out summit finish I’d done since the Dauphiné. Obviously Sierra Nevada came earlier this week but everyone cancelled each other out a bit on there.
"I’m delighted with how things went and once I saw people were in difficulty behind I went into time trial mode and tried to take as much time off them as possible."
Wiggins now has his eye on Monday's time trial but first he was keen to pay a heartfelt tribute to his team-mates, adding: "Tomorrow is where I am expecting to make most of my gains and everything I earned here was a bonus – it was a fantastic finish and it couldn’t have gone any better.
"The team were brilliant again as well and Froomey is shining; he’s really come to the fore now and has proved his worth. It was phenomenal to see and the rest of the boys have not put a foot wrong all week – I haven’t had to lift a finger and even though I’ve been nervous at times they coaxed me through it and put me in the right position when it’s mattered."
That was echoed by Sports Director Steven de Jongh who said: "It was a really good day and amazing to see the team performing so well against the best climbers' teams in the world."
And he's also hoping for another big display in Monday's time trial, adding: "Tomorrow we are in Bradley's playground. He is really up for it so let's hope he can produce a good ride and get right up there in the GC.
"Froomey also has some good time trialling skills and will be going full gas as well. He gave it absolutely everything he had out there today and we're just hoping there's enough left in the tank for him to have another good ride tomorrow as well.
"The rest of the team will be taking it as easy as possible - it's not worth them thrashing themselves to do a good TT if it means they can't do the primary roles next week. For us it's about looking at the bigger picture."