Mads Pedersen has won three stages at the 2022 Vuelta a España ©Getty Images

Denmark's Mads Pedersen claimed his third stage victory of the Vuelta a España in a thrilling sprint finish, while Remco Evenepoel held onto the overall lead in Talavera de la Reina.

Trek-Segafredo's Pedersen battled through 138.3 kilometres in 3 hours 19min 11sec and edged out British Bahrain Victorious rider Fred Wright and Belgium's Gianni Vermeersch of Alpecin-Deceuninck to complete a hat-trick of stage wins on this year's Vuelta.

A tribute was paid to Queen Elizabeth II, who died yesterday aged 96, prior to the start of the race, with British and Ineos Grenadiers riders coming to the front of the field.

American Brandon McNulty of UAE Team Emirates, Ecuador's Jonathan Caicedo of EF Education-EasyPost and Spain's Ander Okamika of Burgos-BH started fast and formed a three-man breakaway within the first 10km.

Despite the breakaway building a lead of nearly four minutes, the peloton clawed its way back with 49km left.

In a sprint finish, following an unsuccessful attack by Australia's Miles Scotson of Groupama FDJ, Pedersen accelerated to victory.

The 26-year-old had not won a Grand Tour stage before this year, but now has triumphed thrice in Spain and also won a stage on the Tour de France.

"It was definitely really hard to control the bunch today but man, the team did so impressive," Pedersen, who has an unsurmountable lead in the points classification, said.

"Everybody was so dedicated and working really hard."

He added: "Three wins is of course super, super nice.

"Tomorrow we have to finish the day and then in Madrid we'll see how it goes, but I think no matter what we can be really happy with these three weeks in Spain."

Belgium's Evenepoel, representing Quick-Step Alpha Vinyl, is closing in victory in the general classification with just two stages remaining.

He leads Movistar's Enric Mas and UAE Team Emirates' Juan Ayuso, who are both Spanish, by 2:07sec and 5:14, respectively.

Stage 20 is mountainous and will see riders travel from Moralzarzal to Puerto de Navacerrada across a 175.5km route tomorrow.