Great Britain’s Mark Cavendish kept his grip on the red points classification jersey on stage 16 of the Giro d’Italia.
The Omega Pharma-Quick-Step rider, on his 28th birthday, finished over a minute back from stage victor Benat Intxausti (Movistar) after being dropped on the category three Andrate just 18-kilometres from the race conclusion in Ivrea.
The result means Cavendish's lead has been reduced to just six points over Cadel Evans, though he remains on course to become the first British rider to complete a clean sweep of Grand Tour points classification wins.
Vincenzo Nibali stays in the maglia rosa, finishing 14 seconds back of Intxausti in the lead chasing group with second place Cadel Evans and third placed Rigoberto Urán (Team Sky) and keeping the Italian's general classification lead to one minute and 26 seconds ahead of Evans.
Spain's Intxausti had carved out a 14-second gap in the closing kilometres after the Andrate had fractured the race and took the three-up sprint, holding off Tanel Kangert (Astana) and Przemyslaw Niemiec (Lampre-Merida) at the finish.
Earlier a group of 22 had formed the day's break but were contained to a lead of no more than five minutes.
When RadioShack-Leopard upped the pace on the front of the peloton and reduced the deficit to under three minutes, the breakaway riders began attacking each other in a bid to form a new group and reopen the advantage.
As the race looked to becoming back together on the final climb, a series of attacks strung the race apart and as the riders descended into Ivrea the podium was decided as the trio Kangert, Niemiec and Intxausti broke free.
Wednesday's flat stage from Caravaggio to Vicenza and Sunday's final stage ending in Brescia will both offer Cavendish the chance of adding to his four stage wins so far and will be pivotal if he is to keep the red jersey.
1. INTXAUSTI Benat Movistar Team
2. KANGERT Tanel Astana Pro Team
3. NIEMIEC Przemyslaw Lampre - Merida
4. NAVARDAUSKAS Ramunas Garmin - Sharp
5. EVANS Cadel BMC Racing Team
6. PELLIZOTTI Franco Androni - Venezuela
7. SCARPONI Michele Lampre - Merida
8. MAJKA Rafal Team Saxo-Tinkoff
9. HERRADA LOPEZ Jose Movistar Team
10. BETANCUR GOMEZ Carlos Alberto AG2R La Mondiale
1. CAVENDISH Mark Omega Pharma - Quick-Step 109
2. EVANS Cadel BMC Racing Team 103
3. BETANCUR GOMEZ Carlos Alberto AG2R La Mondiale 85
4. SANTAMBROGIO Mauro Vini Fantini 84
5. NIBALI Vincenzo Astana Pro Team 78
6. URAN Rigoberto Sky Procycling 76
7. VIVIANI Elia Cannondale Pro Cycling Team 72
8. VISCONTI Giovanni Movistar Team 61
9. NIZZOLO Giacomo RadioShack - Leopard 61
10. BELKOV Maxim Katusha Team 55