Yates ‘accidentally’ gains time on first summit finish at La Vuelta

Tue 28 Aug 2018

Three-time Giro d’Italia stage winner Simon Yates has gained 25seconds on his general classification rivals on stage four of the Vuelta a Espana, despite an intention to ride conservatively in the first week. 

“I didn’t mean to,” was the first reaction of the Mitchelton-SCOTT rider over the line, after he took advantage of a lapse in action in the final five kilometres as the breakaway won the stage ahead. 

Michael Kwiatowski (Team Sky) maintained his race lead, but 26-year-old Yates has moved up to third overall and reduced the deficit back to ten seconds. 

A day for the break:
After a short battle, nine riders formed the breakaway and immediately started to build a handy advantage.

As the kilometres ticked on and noone joined race leaders Team Sky at the front of the bunch, the gap only extended, reaching a maximum of nine minutes 45seconds with 25km to go.

Two races on the climb:
The breakaway reached the bottom of the final climb with plenty of time to the peloton and battled it out for the stage win. Ben King (Dimension Data) claimed the stage ahead of Nikita Stalov (Astana Pro Team). 

Behind, Lotto-Jumbo set a fast tempo through the narrow roads at the bottom of the climb and shed the general classification group down to less than 20 riders. 

When the Dutch team ran out of workers, the tempo immediately eased and Yates made a split decision to continue on, thinking his rivals would follow.  

Hesitation from his competitors saw a gap open up and he drove to the line with a 25-second gain on Alejandro Valverde (Movistar Team) and 27-second gain on Kwiatowski and the other overall contenders. 

Simon Yates:
“It wasn’t the plan (to attack), I got carried away but I felt good and I saw an opportunity there. Lotto-Jumbo were running a good tempo through the town but seemed to fall apart or slow down a bit and I thought I would keep going and that was it really. 

“I don’t really know what I was doing. Maybe I was testing the guys and was thinking someone would come with me straight away but that was that. 

“I didn’t mean to. I’m not trying to be cocky or anything, it was just one of those things and when I tried once, I got away. 

“It looks like I have gained the time I lost in the other part of the race, in the prologue and the other day with the little kicker, so yeah, it was a good day.” 

La Vuelta Stage 4 Results:
1. Ben King (Dimension Data) 4:33:12
2. Nikita Stalov (Astana Pro Team) +0:02
3. Pierre Rolland (EF Education First-Drapac) +0:13
8. Simon Yates (Mitchelton-SCOTT) +2:48

La Vuelta General Classification after Stage 4:
1. Michal Kwiatowski (Team Sky) 13:47:19
2. Emanuel Buchmann (Bora-Hansgrohe) +0:07
3. Simon Yates (Mitchelton-SCOTT) +0:10 

Photo courtesy of Getty Images.