Adam attacks and Chaves maintains fifth overall as La Vuelta reaches the second rest day

Sun 3 Sep 2017

ORICA-SCOTT rode aggressively on a short stage 15 of La Vuelta today, launching British climber Adam Yates on the attack before Colombian leader Esteban Chaves consolidated his position in fifth overall. 

Yates attacked on the first climb of the day, bridging across to the remnants of a breakaway with one leader ahead. By the final climb the 25-year-old was solo in front before being joined and later dropped by stage winner Miguel Angel Lopez (Astana Pro Team).

“I had a stage win in mind but if it came back in the final I would be there (for Chaves),” Yates said. “I gave it my best shot and it didn’t work out so I’ll try again another day.” 

“I was just going my pace for pretty much an hour and a half, so there’s no tactic or strategy, it’s just full gas until the finish and my full gas wasn’t good enough.”

Behind, Chaves stayed with race leader Chris Froome (Team Sky) despite unsuccessful attacks from Alberto Contador (Trek-Segafredo) and Vincenzo Nibali (Bahrain-Merida).

The 27-year-old retains his fifth position overall, two-minutes 39seconds behind the race lead. 

“We have two options, go for the stage win with Adam or I could attack and he could help me,” Chaves said at the finish line. “Lopez was unbelievable, congratulations to him, Adam as well, he is a super strong guy.”

“Chris (Froome) is a really big champion. When Contador attacked he kept calm and the team rode really well. In the final we caught Contador and he is dropped. Unbelievable, the Sky team, and also us. We are a really good team, a young team with Jack (Haig) for example, Simon and Adam, they put everything in for the objective.” 

As the riders look forward for their second rest day tomorrow, sport director Neil Stephens wrapped up the team’s first two weeks of racing.

“We set off with an aggressive plan today and it almost came off,” Stephens said. “We were close to the stage and we rode well for the general classification.” 

“I think the balance these two weeks has been quite positive. We would have liked to have been a bit higher up on the general classification, or closer in time but we have to praise the boy’s efforts.

“The times we have lost time are when we went on the aggressive attack so we have to look at that in the future but in terms of this race, we are going to go down fighting and we will keep the same style of racing.”

How it happened:

With just 127km ahead of them, the peloton was in for another battle to make the day’s breakaway.

Eventually eight riders rode away and with 75km to go they had a two-minute 20second advantage which they maintained until the first climb. 

The break and the bunch split on the first ascent and Adam Yates took his moment to attack, forming a group with four others with a solo rider remaining in front.

Inside the last 30km, Yates passed the leader and went solo ahead. Behind Contador and Nibali tried attacking but were eventually caught by the Team Sky controlled group of favourites. 

The Briton had a one-minute advantage as he started the final climb , but it was a move from Lopez that caught and dropped the ORICA-SCOTT rider in the final five kilometres.

Behind, Ilnur Zakarin (Katush-Alpecin) attacked with around a kilometre to go and gained 11seconds on Chaves who crossed the line alongside Froome. 

La Vuelta – Stage 15 Results: 

1. Miguel Angel Lopez (Astana Pro Team) 3:34:51
2. Ilnur Zakarin (Katusha Alpecin) +0:36
3. Wilco Kelderman (Team Sunweb) +0:45
4. Esteban Chaves (ORICA-SCOTT) +0:47

La Vuelta – General Classification after Stage 15:

1. Chris Froome (Team Sky) 62:06:25
2. Vincenzo Nibali (Bahrain Merida) +1:01
3. Ilnur Zakarin (Katusha Alpecin) +2:08
5. Esteban Chaves (ORICA-SCOTT) +2:39