Simon Yates soloed to a superb victory at the Prueba Villafranca – Ordiziako Klasika, attacking with 11.5km and leaving his rivals in his wake as he powered away.
The Brit, who a few days ago extended his contract with Team BikeExchange-Jayco through to 2024, timed his move to perfection, striking on the final climb of the day and opening the gap on the descent into Ordizia.
Dion Smith made it a one-two for the team as he won the bunch sprint that came in just after Yates had crossed the line, following a fine performance from the entire team over the 166km course.
A five-rider break had gone up the road early on but was reeled back in with just under 60km to go, and the boys set to work opening the race up.
Lucas Hamilton and Callum Scotson both took big turns on the front, before Yates then attacked with 40km to go, with two other riders going with him. The move didn’t last however, and they were reeled back in within a few kilometres.
The team then upped the pace again, this time with Tsgabu Grmay and Hamilton pulling hard on the front to stretch things out. Then, with little more than 10km left, Yates leapt clear of the bunch with nobody able to respond.
“I’ve had a long break between races, and training’s been going really well, so I was able to do a good race.
It was exactly the same place (the attack) as when I won in 2016, so I knew the race really well, and I chose my moment, exactly the same.
The race suits me really well. The length of the climbs is really good for my characteristics, and I’m sure I’ll be back again.”
Gene Bates (Sport Director)
“We’re delighted with the result today. We came to the race looking to be ambitious, and sometimes these smaller races are very difficult to win. It was a solid field with quite a bit of depth, with five other WorldTour teams here.
This group of guys hadn’t had a lot of racing coming in, they were mainly coming off preparation so we weren’t exactly sure where everyone would be, but it was fantastic to see Simon do what he did. He was obviously in very good shape, particularly on this course, and the climb really suited his style, which we knew from when he’d won here in the past.
The team rode really well as a whole. They rode aggressively, they weren’t afraid to take it up, and at some really key moments we had some fantastic work from each of the guys.
For Simon to win solo, and then to have Dion there to win the sprint for second place is just super. We can’t be happier with how today panned out.”
2022 Prueba Villafranca – Ordiziako Klasika – Race Result:
1. Simon Yates (Team BikeExchange-Jayco) 3:52:51
2. Dion Smith (Team BikeExchange-Jayco) +0:10
3. Xavier Cañellas +0:10