Olympic gold medallist Richard Carapaz became the first Ecuadorian to win a stage on the Vuelta a España ©Getty Images

Olympic gold medallist Richard Carapaz claimed his first victory on the Vuelta a España, while race leader Remco Evenepoel survived a crash to preserve his overall lead.

The Tokyo 2020 men's road race champion became the first Ecuadorian to win a Vuelta stage when he dropped his fellow breakaway riders in the final two kilometres of the Peñas Blancas climb which concluded the 192.7km stage that began in Salobreña.

Competing in Ineos Grenadiers colours, Carapaz claimed victory in 4hrs 38min 26sec, beating The Netherlands' Wilco Kelderman of Bora-Hansgrohe by nine seconds.

UAE Team Emirates rider Marc Soler of Spain beat Slovenian team-mate Jan Polanc to the final podium place by two seconds, and finished 24 seconds off the pace.

Carapaz, a Grand Tour winner on the Giro d'Italia in 2019, was overjoyed at his stage victory.

"To be honest, I feel happiness, because we came here with a goal and the circumstances weren’t in our favour," he said.

"We had the focus now on trying to win a stage, and I’m really happy with that.

"Bora were doing almost all the work and I waited for the last moment.

"I know, at 2km for the finish, that the last 1.8km were so hard, and very regular.

"I knew I had one move left and I made the most out of.

"I’m very happy."

Belgian Evenepoel held a lead of 2min 41sec over Slovenian and Team Jumbo-Visma's Primož Roglič, who has won the last three editions of the Vuelta, after 11 stages.

His Quick-Step Alpha Vinyl Team team-mate Julian Alaphilippe of France, the back-to-back road race world champion, was involved in a crash that ended his Vuelta campaign yesterday, and he suffered cuts and bruises after skidding out on a corner with around 45km remaining.

Evenepoel vented his frustrations after the crash, but was able to recover to finish in 4:46:05, ensuring that Roglič was unable to cut the deficit.

Tomorrow's 168.4km 13th stage begins with an uphill start from Ronda, and although classed as a flat route finishing in Montilla, it does feature some small ascents, and has been billed as one for the sprinters.