The Vuelta saw the strands of the past, present and future weave together in stunning fashion
20-year-old Pogacar went long to steal the white jersey and a podium spot of the penultimate stage of the race, as countryman Primoz Roglic held firm to keep the overall lead.
Rivals will be trying to unsettle Roglic in two decisive climbing stages looming in northern Spain.
Having only entered the WorldTour at the start of the season, the young Slovenian finds himself sole leader of his team and third on GC at his first grand tour.
Slovenian Tadej Pogačar took the stage win just ahead of countryman Primoz Roglic, who padded his lead in the Vuelta overall.
Paved less than a decade ago, the Los Machucos climb has already become part of Vuelta lore after just one inclusion. This year the punishing climb opens a decisive weekend in the mountains.
Nairo Quintana came second on the stage to take the red jersey, while Roglic withstood a barrage of attacks to take third on the day and second overall. López crashed late in the stage and drops to third on the GC.
What did we learn from the 2019 Amgen Tour of California? Youngsters are fast, Anna van der Breggen still dominates, and EF's unfortunate streak continues
Tadej Pogačar and Anna van der Breggen defended their overnight leads to win the Amgen Tour of California