Irishman Dan Martin extended his overall lead to 14 seconds after the fifth stage of the Tour of Catalonia.
The 26-year-old, who won Thursday's fourth stage, finished ninth and gained four more seconds on Spaniard Joaquim Rodriguez with two stages remaining.
Britain's Sir Bradley Wiggins remains in fourth place but lost a further 10 seconds and is 46 seconds off the lead.
Canadian Francois Parisien's late burst game him the stage win, from Samuel Dumoulin and Stephane Poulhies.
After two gruelling days of climbing through the Pyrenees, Friday's more manageable stage saw the riders finish in Lleida, which is nearly 500m lower than Rialp, where they began the day.
A total of 13 riders finished the 156km ride in the same time of three hours thirty-two minutes and two seconds.
Martin gained a bonus second by finishing third in a sprint and then captured a further three seconds on Spaniard Rodriguez in the dash to the line.
Wiggins briefly led Team Sky to the front of the pack, but eventually fell away as Parisien sprinted towards the line to take his first stage victory of the season. Martin finished in the leading group, with Rodriguez in a group of seven a further three seconds behind.
Tour of Catalonia stage five results:
1. Francois Parisien (Canada / Argos) 3:32:02"
2. Samuel Dumoulin (France / AG2R) same time
3. Stephane Poulhies (France / Cofidis)
4. Daniele Ratto (Italy / Cannondale)
5. Danilo Wyss (Switzerland / BMC Racing)
6. Andrew Fenn (Britain / Omega Pharma - Quick-Step)
7. Gianni Meersman (Belgium / Omega Pharma - Quick-Step)
8. Maurits Lammertink (Netherlands / Vacansoleil)
9. Daniel Martin (Ireland / Garmin)
Tour of Catalonia overall classification:
1. Daniel Martin (Ire/Garmin) 22:20:39"
2. Joaquim Rodriguez (Spa/Katusha) +14"
3. Nairo Quintana (Col/Movistar) +42"
4. Bradley Wiggins (GB/Team Sky) +46"
5. Michele Scarponi (Ita/Lampre) +47"