Lars-Petter Nordhaug continued his momentum after clinching sixth overall following the final stage at the Vuelta al Pais Vasco.
The Norwegian put in a strong time trial on soaking wet roads around Onati to clock 13th fastest time on the testing 18.9-kilometre course.
Against some top competition that placed the climber in sixth on the general classification, one minute and three seconds behind eventual race-winner Samuel Sanchez (Euskaltel-Euskadi).
The Spaniard delighted the Basque fans with a powerful ride to win the stage and the overall, deposing compatriot and overnight leader Joaquim Rodriguez (Katusha) to take the yellow jersey by 12 seconds.
A time six seconds quicker than anyone else, Sanchez held off the attentions of Bauke Mollema (Rabobank), who had to settle for second on the stage but propelled himself up to third overall in the standings, 42 seconds adrift after six stages.
Sergio Henao began the day in sixth place after a superb display of climbing during the week. The Colombian gave it his all in treacherous conditions to eventually place 13th on the general classification, 1:39 back.
A stiff technical challenge for the riders, the final stage was not a run of the mill time trial as the race went down to the wire.
Far from a chance for the powerful riders to stretch their legs, an undulating parcours on narrow roads featured a number of technical wet descents, as well as a cobbled climb just out of the start ramp.
First man into the stage was Travis Meyer (GreenEDGE), the Australian setting a good benchmark time of 29:12, only for it to be beaten shortly after by Dutchman Stef Clement (Rabobank) to the tune of two seconds.
As had been the case during the two previous days, the rain had made a return forcing some of the best time trial specialists in the world to corner at almost a standstill. That failed to stop Mollema, who raised a few eyebrows as he went through the first split quickest by six seconds.
Another rider to benefit on a day which didn’t suit the time trial specialists was Damiano Cunego (Lampre-ISD) who leapfrogged up to fourth, while time trial world champion Tony Martin (Omega Pharma-Quickstep) rounded out the top five overall.
Xabier Zandio was the second Team Sky rider home on the day in 25th, 1:01 back with Michael Rogers coming home just behind Henao in 35th spot.
After the stage Sports Director Marcus Ljungqvist was happy to see Nordhaug confirm his credentials yet further against some of the best stage racers in the world.
The Swede said: “It’s a really good result for Lars-Petter. He did a good TT today. When you look at his time trialling from last year he has improved a lot. Sixth against that calibre of riders is impressive.
“It was a special one as you saw out there with some really tricky conditions. We were hoping to have two guys in the top-10 and to have won the team’s classification, which we actually lost by two seconds.
“You can see from the results today that it wasn’t your average TT. There was a steep climb at the beginning with the cobbles, then a dangerous downhill and back up again. Then you had a section of eight or nine kilometres where you could really time trial, then a climb at the end. So there was a bit of everything!”
Ljungqvist was also full of praise for the performance of Henao during the week on his debut at WorldTour level.
“It’s the first WorldTour race for Sergio and one of the first races he has done in Europe and in this league. He was close to the top 10 and it is very promising for the upcoming races too,” he added.