Yates extends lead with third on stage 15 of La Vuelta

Sun 9 Sep 2018

Backing up from his victory yesterday, Simon Yates has finished third on stage 15 of the Vuelta a Espana to extend his overall lead heading into the second rest day.

The Mitchelton-SCOTT rider was involved in a cat and mouse game amongst the group of favourites on the final climb, eventually finishing behind Thibaut Pinot (Groupama FDJ) and Miguel Angel Lopez (Astana Pro Team) to extend his overall lead to Alejandro Valverde (Movistar Team) to 26seconds.

A dozen off the front:
After a 40km battle, a dozen riders formed the day’s breakaway with George Bennett (Team LottoNL-Jumbo) the biggest threat to the general classification at just over 10minutes down.

The gap quickly extended before Mitchelton-SCOTT worked on the front of the bunch to control the gap between three and four minutes.

As the race hit the first ascent of Mirador del Fito the gap extended over five minutes and Astana set off in pursuit, quickly reducing it back to three and a half minutes with 60km remaining.

Ivan Garcia Cortina (Bahrain Merida) was the last man standing, starting the final climb two minutes 45seconds ahead of the peloton before being caught with eight kilometres remaining.

The final climb:
By the time the race was back together at the front, the group of favourites was already down to 20 riders, including Yates and twin brother Adam Yates.

Lopez was the first rider to attack before Nairo Quintana (Movistar Team) jumped across with Yates on his wheel. Pinot was the next to go and it proved to be perfectly timed as he went on to take the stage victory.

Behind, Yates attacked and was chased by Valverde and then Lopez. With 3.5km to go Enrico Mas (Quickstep Floors) also put in a dangerous attack, followed by Lopez once again. 

At the end of the constant attacks, Pinot won the stage by 28seconds to Lopez and 30seconds to Yates.  Behind, Valverde and Steven Kruijswijk (Team LottoNL-Jumbo) lost a further two seconds, and Mas and Quintana four seconds.

Simon Yates:
“It was a very strong attack by Thibaut on the climb, he came from behind, went with speed and gained time. I can only congratulate him. It was difficult within the chase group, because there was almost zero co-operation and it was very difficult to do anything. There was a bit of a head wind so if you did gain a gap it became very hard to maintain.”

“Nothing much really happened in the end, my legs felt good and if I could hold the same form and the same legs then I will be happy. I am looking forward to the rest day now, we will prepare for the time trial and the rest of the race from there.” 

La Vuelta a Espana - Stage 15 Results:
1. Thibaut Pinot (Groupama-FDJ) 05:01:49
2. Miguel Angel Lopez (Astana) +0:28
3. Simon Yates (Mitchelton-SCOTT) +0:30

General classification after stage 15:
1. Simon Yates (Mitchelton-SCOTT) 64:13:33
2. Alejandro Valverde (Movistar) +0:26
3. Nairo Quintana (Movistar) +0:33

Photos courtesy of Getty Images.