It was just about the mind, says Alessandro de Marchi after winning the 11th stage of the Tour of Spain on Wednesday. Photo: Reuters

MADRID – Italy’s Alessandro de Marchi held off the challenge of Colombian Jhonatan Restrepo to win the 11th stage of the Tour of Spain on Wednesday.

But Britain’s Simon Yates of Mitchelton retains the overall lead after he also withstood a series of late attacks, in particular from Movistar’s Nairo Quintana.

De Marchi, of BMC Racing Team, and Katusha-Alpecin’s Restrepo both pulled clear of a large breakaway group, which had been spearheaded by France’s Thibaut Pinot with around 80km to go.

De Marchi then outlasted Restrepo on the final ascent to finish on his own for a third stage victory in this event, following up those he won in 2013 and 2014.

“If I waited for the sprint, I think for sure I would have been second,” De Marchi said. 

“The only option I had was to try everything on the last climb, and honestly, I didn’t feel the best (in my) legs – it was just about the mind.”

De Marchi crossed the line, with his arms outstretched, 28 seconds ahead of Restrepo.

Italy’s Franco Pellizotti was 59 seconds back in third, at the end of the longest stage of the race at 207.8km.

The event will continue on Thursday with the 12th stage between Mondonedo and Manon.