A Coruna, Spain: John Degenkolb of Germany claimed his fourth stage victory of the Tour of Spain when he sprinted to victory in Wednesday`s 17th stage as local favourite Alberto Contador retained the overall leader`s red jersey.
Giant-Shimano rider Degenkolb pipped Australia`s Michael Matthews of Orica GreenEdge to the line after the 190.7km trek from Ortigueira to the Galician city of A Coruna on the north-west coast.
Trek Factory Racing`s Fabian Cancellara of Switzerland was third, with Tinkoff-Saxo`s Contador crossing the line with the pack to maintain his lead of one minute and 36 seconds over second-placed compatriot Alejandro Valverde of Movistar.
British Team Sky rider Chris Froome stayed third overall, three seconds adrift of Valverde ahead of Thursday`s mountainous 18th stage into Monte Castrove.
Contador, a double Tour de France champion, is closing on a third Tour of Spain crown after he won Monday`s 16th stage and his closest domestic rivals, Valverde and Katusha`s Joaquim Rodriguez, cracked on the final climb.
Rodriguez is two minutes and 29 seconds off the pace in fourth overall.
"The feelings have been pretty good and, well, it’s one day fewer," Contador told Spanish radio station Cadena Ser moments after crossing the line on Wednesday.
"Tomorrow’s stage is completely different and we have to get the motor running at top speed again," added the 31-year-old.
"Let’s hope the legs are working well and we can keep an eye on those at the front and make sure the day goes smoothly.
"I think they (the remaining four stages) are all important, maybe the one tomorrow will be a bit different but all the days are important now."