Sergio Henao and Rigoberto Urán duked it out with the sprinters at the finish of Trofeo Alcudia taking ninth and tenth.
The Colombian pairing were part of a 45-strong group of chasers that hunted down the sole member of the day’s breakaway in the final kilometres - Robert Gesink (Blanco Cycling) swept up after a second day in succession on the attack.
At the line Leigh Howard made it two wins in three days as he claimed the reduced bunch sprint, the Australian (Orica-GreenEDGE) beating Maarten Wynants (Blanco Cycling) and Davide Cimolai (Lampre-Merida) across the stripe.
Escapee Gesink had joined Team Sky’s Xabier Zandio in the move of the day as 10 riders went away early before the group eventually swelled to 13 on the run out of Alcudia.
It was Zandio who crested the Puig Major first before the steep run back down into Soller. The technical and often damp descents proved difficult and Ben Swift unfortunately crashed out of the race on the way down the Coll d’Honor.
An ever-present in the top 10 for the first three races of the Challenge, Swift was taken to hospital as a precaution. Team Sky Doctor Alan Farrell confirmed: "Swifty had a bad crash on the decent. We brought him to hospital for further investigations and he is doing well. He is staying in overnight and should be able to leave hospital in the morning."
The peloton briefly split into two groups in the early going on the road to Inca, but as the race finally settled down Bradley Wiggins took the opportunity to climb off as he completed his preparations for Monday’s Tour of Oman.
With the break’s four-minute gap coming down it was Angel Madrazo (Movistar) and Gesink who pushed on out of the break in a bid to stay clear – the Dutchman the final man to be caught after a spirited fight.
At the finish Howard again demonstrated his form to clock another win for his Australian outfit.