Yates remains second overall after stage 13 of La VueltaFri 7 Sep 2018
Three-time Giro d’Italia stage winner Simon Yates has retained second overall at the Vuelta a Espana after stage 13 started to shape the general classification battle.
As the breakaway won the stage ahead, it was Yates and Nairo Quintana (Movistar Team) that looked to be the strongest as they gained valuable seconds from their rivals.
Another big break:
A 32-rider break established and pulled away from the peloton on the first climb of the day, with Ben King (Dimension Data) the biggest threat to the general classification at seven minutes down.
As the gap extended beyond nine minutes the general classification teams sent workers to assist race leaders, Cofidis, to control it.
The gap immediately reduced and as the race hit the second of three climbs for the day Movistar Team set a fierce tempo that split the bunch. With 30km to go the gap was down to just over five minutes.
The final climb:
At the front of the race, Rodriquez surprised his more favoured breakaway companions to claim an emphatic stage victory ahead of Rafael Majka (Bora-Hansgrohe).
Behind, the peloton hit the final climb over three and a half minutes behind the breakaway but they were in a race of their own.
As the bunch whittle down on the steep gradients, Jack Haig hit the front to keep the pace high with Mitchelton-SCOTT teammate Yates in his wheel.
With just the main contenders remaining, Wilco Kelderman (Team Sunweb) also put pressure on the front before Yates and Nairo Quintana (Movistar Team) managed to gap the rest.
The duo looked to ride within themselves before Quintana pushed in the final metres of the climb to gain six seconds on Yates.
Behind, Alejando Valverde (Movistar Team) lost a further 11seconds, Miguel Angel Lopez (Astana Pro Team) 14seconds and Kelderman, Steven Kruijswijk (LottoNL-Jumbo) and Rigobert Uran (EF Education First – Drapac) all dropped another 19seconds.
“Cofidis were riding for a little bit but in one moment all of the teams decided to put one guy there to help really control it. We rode like that for quite a while before Movistar decided to really drive it with Astana over the middle climb.
“Jack worked for a little bit on the final climb before Kelderman took over and set a really good tempo. Then there was a bit of a stalemate until I attacked just before one kilometre to go. After that it was a bit of a drag race with Nairo, we were just sprinting next to each other until the flatter section.
“We had a bit of a gap and started looking to each other for who was going to take control before we had a bit of a sprint to the line, and he put me away there by a few seconds.
“It was a good day for me and the team, the first day of the ‘big weekend’. Some guys are showing some weakness, of course they can always bounce back but the GC is really starting to take shape.”
La Vuelta - Stage 13 Results:
1. Oscar Rodriguez (Euskadi-Murias) 04:17:05
2. Rafal Majka (Bora-Hansgrohe) +0:19
3. Dylan Teuns (BMC-Racing-Team) +0:30
22. Simon Yates (Mitchelton-SCOTT) +2:38
General Classification after stage 13:
1. Jesus Herrada (Cofidis) 54:50:19
2. Simon Yates (Mitchelton-SCOTT) +1:42
3. Nairo Quintana (Movistar) +1:50
Photo courtesy of Getty Images.