Mikel Landa animated the final kilometres of stage eight at the Giro d’Italia yet the general classification again went unchanged into Peschici.
The Basque star attacked out of the GC group on the late Coppa del Fomaro climb, opening out enough of a gap to move briefly into virtual pink, before being hauled back during a fast finish.
In the end Landa was able to finish alongside team-mate Geraint Thomas in the chasing peloton after a breakaway stole the show and the stage victory.
Quick-Step Floors rode hard late on to ensure the pink jersey remained on the shoulders of Bob Jungels, with Thomas remaining just six seconds back, a situation that has remained unchanged since Etna.
Landa sits 12th overall at 10 seconds back following his dig. With a number of GC teams having a rider up the road, the attack from Landa made them think twice initially about shutting the gap.
A day full of attacking ensured the 189-kilometre test was the most active of the race thus far, and at the finish it was Gorka Izagirre (Movistar) who prevailed.
Four riders headed into a steep and technical final kilometre with a chance of victory. Valerio Conti (UAE Team Emirates) crashed out on a tight hairpin, giving Izagirre the opening he needed to attack.
It was tense and stressful, having to always concentrate and fight for position. The last few climbs were pretty tough so it was far from an easy day.
After the stage Landa talked us through his attack, explaining: “I’m feeling good and I tried to make a small gap, but the peloton caught me.
“I decided in the moment to attack. Our main goal today was to not lose any time, but I saw an opportunity and I tried something.
“Tomorrow we’ll see. It should be a good stage for me and I think I need to try and make some time.”
Thomas was another rider to have an eye on Sunday’s finish at Blockhaus, but admitted the stage was harder than any of the GC riders ideally wanted.
“We knew it was going to be a twisty, up and down, hard day,” he told TeamSky.com. “The way the race played out with Conti up there meant Quick-Step wanted to defend the jersey. So they were chasing hard for that. It was full-on all day really, and certainly for the last 50km.
“It was tense and stressful, having to always concentrate and fight for position. The last few climbs were pretty tough so it was far from an easy day.
“Everyone knew the break had a really good chance of staying away today so everyone wanted to be in it. Hence it took so long to go. A few teams kept chasing and it was always within touching distance. I think a lot of the guys, myself included were just hoping to take it as easy as possible.”