Bradley Wiggins retains red jersey in Vuelta as Albasini wins stage
Britain's Bradley Wiggins has retained the red jersey in the Vuelta a Espana after safely completing the 13th stage.
Switzerland's Michael Albasini won the stage from Sarria to Ponferrada, while Wiggins did enough to maintain a lead of four seconds.
Wiggins, 31, is using the Vuelta to prepare for the time-trial at the road World Championships in Copenhagen.
The Team Sky rider finished 26th to keep a seven-second gap over team-mate Christopher Froome who is in third.
Wiggins said after the stage: "I'm pretty relaxed about how things went today and it was another good performance from the team.
"Yes, [Vincenzo] Nibali made up six seconds by attacking on that first descent and winning the sprint, but I didn't see the point in wasting energy unnecessarily and taking big risks just to try and defend a few seconds.
"Fair credit to him for having a go, but I don't think the race will have been won or lost today - the time gains or losses in the mountains days to come are going play a much bigger role in how this race is decided.
"I'm really happy to still be in the jersey though, and it's a huge honour to be able to pull it on each morning and as I've said before, we'll be doing all we can to defend it to Madrid."
Second behind HTC-Highroad rider Albasini in the small bunch sprint that decided the 158.2 km mountainous stage was Italy's Eros Capecchi with Spain's Dani Moreno coming in third.
Albasini was part of a 27-man breakaway that took off in the first hour of racing. Wiggins finished in the main pack one minute 33 seconds behind.
Wiggins, a triple Olympic gold medallist, is competing in his first event since sustaining a broken collarbone at the Tour de France earlier this summer.
He also came fourth in the Tour de France two years ago.
The Vuelta continues on Saturday with a 172.8-km run from Astorga to La Farrapona.
Result and overall standings after the 158.2km 13th stage of the Tour of Spain from Sarria to Ponferrada:
1. Michael Albasini (SWI/HTC) 4 hrs 19 min 39secs
2. Eros Capecchi (ITA/LIQ) Same time
3. Daniel Moreno (SPA/KAT)
4. David De la Fuente (SPA/GEO)
5. Nicolas Roche (EIR/ALM)
6. Oliver Zaugg (SWI/LEO)
7. Angel Madrazo (SPA/MOV)
8. David Blanco (SPA/GEO)
9. Mikel Nieve (SPA/EUS)
10. Marc De Maar (NED/QST)
1. Bradley Wiggins (GBR/SKY) 51 hrs 14 min 59secs
2. Vincenzo Nibali (ITA/LIQ) +4"
3. Chris Froome (GBR/SKY) +7"
4. Fredrik Kessiakoff (SWE/AST) +9"
5. Jakob Diemer Fuglsang (DEN/LEO) +19"
6. Bauke Mollema (NED/RAB) +36"
7. Maxime Monfort (BEL/LEO) +1:04"
8. Juan Jose Cobo Acebo (SPA/GEO) +1:27"
9. Daniel Moreno (SPA/KAT) +1:52"
10. Haimar Zubeldia (SPA/RSH) +1:53"