Another strong top ten finish for Yates on the queen stage in Pais VascoFri 7 Apr 2017
Paris-Nice winner Simon Yates fought hard on the final steep slopes of today’s queen stage in Vuelta al Pais Vasco to take ninth place for ORICA-SCOTT.
The Australian outfit took control of the race with 40kilometres to go, leading the peloton over the two penultimate climbs in an attempt to set Yates up for the final first category climb, which summited just two kilometres from the finish line.
Yates fought hard to keep with the furious pace on the narrow, challenging slopes which reached a maximum gradient of 12.2%.
Seven-riders crested the top of the climb and barrelled down towards the finish line with Yates fighting hard just a handful of seconds behind. The young Brit crossed the line in ninth position to conclude the tough penultimate stage of the Basque race, won by Alejandro Valverde (Movistar).
“Simon lost his chances to go for the general classification the other day so this morning he said he had confidence and really wanted to have a go for the stage," sport director Neil Stephens said after the finish. "We know he has good form so we wanted to try today and all the boys were happy to give it everything to go for the stage.”
“I think everyone can see that we gave it everything we could, we gave ourself the best chances to go for the win and put the misfortune we had the other day behind us.”
“Simon should be content with how things panned out in the end. Everybody in the team worked to their maximum capacity and executed their roles well and he threw it out there on the last climb.”
“He was amongst the best riders and so he can walk away with out any doubts, knowing he and the team gave it their best shot.”
How it happened:
Today’s queen stage was only 139kilometres in length but with six categorised climbs to tackle and three of them first category classified, it was set to be another tough day.
Within the opening 20kilometres a large group of 18riders formed the main breakaway, however, the group never reached more than one minute 20seconds and was brought back to the peloton over the initial climbs with 60kilometres still to go.
With the real action set to take place in the final 50kilometres with five climbs to contend with, the pace in the regrouped peloton was fierce as team’s worked to lead their climbers into position ahead of the upcoming challenging task.
ORICA-SCOTT took control of the race with 40kilometres remaining, leading all the way into the first category climb Izua. With their strong squad of climbers, the Australian outfit continue to push the tempo all the way up and over the second category ascent which caused the peloton to shatter and significantly reduce the front group.
Jack Haig and Carlos Verona continued to work over the penultimate climb, leading Roman Kreuziger and Yates into the final climb in good position.
At the three kilometre to go mark, two riders accelerated away from the small leading group as the race heated up behind. Eventually five other riders were able to bridge across and head towards the finish line to contest the victory. Yates pressed on close behind to take a well fought top ten finish.
Tomorrow the race draws to a close with a lengthy 27kilometre individual time trial.
Vuelta al Pais Vasco stage five results:
1. Alejandro Valverde (Movistar) 3:26:32
2. Romain Bardet (AG2R-Mondale) ST
3. Rigoberto Uran (Cannondale-Drapac) ST
9. Simon Yates (ORICA-SCOTT) +0:15
General classification after stage five:
1. Alejandro Valverde (Movistar) 20:05:18
2. Rigoberto Uran (Cannondale-Drapac) ST
3. Romain Bardet (AG2R-Mondaile) ST
26. Simon Yates (ORICA-SCOTT) +1:45
Photos courtesy of ©TDWsport.com