Jose Rujano took a stage win on the imposing Grossglockner climb on stage 13 of the Giro d'Italia after working alongside Alberto Contador in the closing kilometres.
The Androni Giocattoli rider broke clear of an elite group of favourites with 10.5km to go and was joined by Contador (Saxo Bank-Sungard) in a repeat of stage nine on Etna.
This time the Venezuelan was allowed to take the victory by the Spaniard after the two had formed an effective alliance, coming home over a minute-and-a-half ahead of John Gadret (Ag2r La Mondiale).
Roman Kreuziger (Astana) led home a group of chasing favourites moments later including Michele Scarponi (Lampre-ISD) and Vincenzo Nibali (Liquigas).
The climbing demonstration saw Contador extend his race lead to three minutes and 59 seconds over Nibali ahead of more climbing to come.
The first in a trio of tough mountain stages, the day began unsurprisingly without star sprinters and Giro stage winners Mark Cavendish (HTC-Highroad), Alessandro Petacchi (Lampre-ISD) and Francisco Ventoso (Movistar).
A group of 16 riders were allowed to move clear after 41km of racing with the majority of teams represented in a break that looked in with a shout of making the finish.
Euskaltel had other ideas and worked hard on the front of the peloton having missed the break, bringing down an advantage that had ticked over the five-minute mark mid-stage.
As the race entered Austrian soil the weather began to close in and Robert Kiserlovski (Astana) took it upon himself to attack on his own on the approach to Iselsbergspass, stretching out an advantage to his fellow escapees to over a minute.
Carlos Sarmiento (Acqua & Sapone) was the next to move clear on the lower slopes of the Grossglockner, bridging across to Kiserlovski as the leading group began to fracture within the final 12km.
The Astana man fell back into the clutches of the peloton leaving Sarmiento and Pieter Weening (Rabobank) as the lone duo out front on the first ascent of the Grossglockner in 40 years.
With 10.5km remaining Rujano attacked out of the ever-diminishing peloton and was joined two kilometres later by Contador, linking up with the Venezuelan in a mirror image of the climb up Etna as Sarmiento and Weening fell back.
The group of chasers was bolstered during a brief respite on the short descent before the final ramp but the favourites again looked resigned to mark each other as Contador danced into the distance on soaking wet roads.
John Gadret continued his strong Giro by attacking the group in the final few kilometres and held on to take a well-deserved third place on the line.