Spaniard Samuel Sanchez (Euskaltel-Euskadi), won Saturday's 20km 20th stage of the Tour of Spain around Collado Villalba, moving into third place overall. Sanchez also won stages 15 and 19.
The Euskaltel rider finished 12 seconds ahead of race leader Denis Menchov (Rabobank), Dutch rider Stef Clement (Bouygues Telecom) finishing third, just 14 seconds off the pace. American Jason McCartney (Discovery Channel) came in seventh.
It was Sanchez's third stage win after the 15th in the mountains and Friday's 19th, moving him into third position at the expense of Australia's Cadel Evans (Predictor-Lotto), who finished sixth, 19 seconds behind.
"The objective before the Vuelta was the podium," admitted Sanchez at the finish of the 20th stage here, several kilometres north-west of Madrid. "I have already won two stages. Difficult to do better," said the 29-year-old, who will be another contender at the world road race championships in Stuttgart later this month.
Sanchez had a word for his compatriot Carlos Sastre, the big favourite fo this year's Vuelta but who will probably have to content himself with second place when the race finishes Sunday in Madrid.
"I'm very happy for Carlos because he deserves to be second," said Sanchez.
Barring a fall or accident there seems nothing to stop Menchov from winning his second Vuelta on Sunday in Madrid, after taking the 2005 title when Roberto Heras was disqualified for doping.