Barolo, Italy - Colombia's Rigoberto Uran won stage 12 of the Giro d'Italia on Thursday, taking control of the leader's pink jersey from Cadel Evans following a 41.9-kilometre time-trial.
While Omega Pharma-QuickStep rider Uran claimed his first individual time-trial success after posting a best time of 57min 34sec, Australian Evans endured a difficult day in the Piedmont vineyards, finishing third, 1min 34sec down on the Colombian, to relinquish the overall lead.
Italy's Diego Ulissi was second, 1min 17sec adrift, in a rain-hit stage that saw Uran take a 37sec lead from Evans in the general classification.
“It's incredible, I'm really surprised. I didn't think that I would win it,” said a delighted Uran, who became the first Colombian to wear the pink jersey following his second career Giro stage victory.
“I've been doing a lot of work over the winter. I was fourth in the Tour of Romandie (individual time-trial) and so that was a good sign. I'm lost for words - it's incredible.”
Meanwhile, Evans struggled to negotiate drying roads as the rain subsided just before the final riders tackled the course.
His time through the first intermediate check-point was only good enough for ninth but the veteran Aussie began to close the gap on his rivals over the latter part with the notable exception of Uran.
“I wasn't able to give everything,” said Evans, who came close to sliding off the road at the finish.
“I had said these past few days that Rigoberto seemed relaxed but I didn't expect that he would be as strong.”
However, a philosophical Evans claimed losing the overall lead was not necessarily the worst outcome.
“To lose the pink jersey is not a tragedy. It's perhaps even an advantage given what awaits us,” said the 2011 Tour de France champion.
As for an under the weather Nairo Quintana, one of the pre-race favourites, he lost 2min 41sec to his fellow countryman Uran on the day, leaving him almost 3min 30sec off the pink jersey.
“I gave it my all right the way through but I found it difficult to breathe. I hope that things will get better,” said Quintana, who was complaining of a throat infection.
Polish cyclist Rafal Majka, who was fourth in Thursday's time-trial, is third overall at 1:52 with climbing specialist Domenico Pozzovivo fourth at 2:32.
Uran, silver medallist in the men's road race at the 2012 London Olympics, finished second in last year's Giro having initially started the race in support of Team Sky leader Bradley Wiggins, who abandoned the 2013 event after 12 stages.
Friday's stage 13, a 157km ride from Fossano to Rivarolo, will provide sprinters with one final chance to impress before the race heads to the mountains.