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Simon Yates poised to win Vuelta as Enric Mas claims gruelling stage 20

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Simon Yates vuelta 2018

Simon Yates (Mitchelton-Scott) is poised to win his first Grand Tour title after he successfully defended his lead of the Vuelta through Saturday’s 20th stage.

Yates will take his advantage of 1 minute, 46 seconds, over Enric Mas (Quick-Step Floors) into the final stage, when race custom dictates the riders don’t attack the race leaders on the traditional arrival to Madrid.

Mas moved into second place overall with the stage victory. The Spaniard edged Miguel Angel Lopez (Astana) at the finish of the short but incredibly demanding 97-kilometer route in Andorra. Riders faced six categorized climbs including a finish atop the beyond-category Coll de la Gallina.

After being helped by brother Adam Yates to withstand the fast pace set by Astana midway through the stage, Simon Yates attacked on the fifth climb to ensure he kept the red jersey.

Alejandro Valverde entered the stage in second place, but he withered under Yates’ attack and the pursuit by the other top riders. The 38-year-old former winner fell to fifth place in the overall standings.

Yates was third to cross the finish line, around 20 seconds behind Mas and Lopez, who completed the brutal test in just under three hours. Lopez moved into third place in the general classification.

It will be the biggest win of Yates’ career. The Mitchelton-Scott rider led the Giro d’Italia in May for 13 stages before ceding the lead with two days left to eventual winner Chris Froome.

Yates’ win of the Vuelta will also complete a sweep by British riders of the season’s three Grand Tours.

Sunday’s 21st stage is a flat 101-kilometer ride from Alcorcon to the center of the Spanish capital.

Vuelta a Espana 2018 – stage 20 results (Escaldes-Engordany – Collada De La Gallina):

1Enric Mas (Quick-Step Floors)

2:59:30

2Miguel Angel Lopez (Astana)

,,

3Simon Yates (Mitchelton-Scott)

+23”

4Thibaut Pinot (Groupama-FDJ)

+54”

5Rigoberto Uran (EF Education First-Drapac)

+57”

6Wilco Kelderman (Team Sunweb)

+01’11”

7Steven Kruijswijk (LottoNL-Jumbo)

+01’15”

8David De La Cruz (Team Sky)

+02’17”

9Nairo Quintana (Movistar)

+03’09”

10Alejandro Valverde (Movistar)

,,

11Bauke Mollema (Trek-Segafredo)

+03’44”

12Pello Bilbao (Astana)

+04’25”

13Richard Carapaz (Movistar)

+04’47”

14Igor Anton (Dimension Data)

+04’58”

15Ion Izagirre (Bahrain-Merida)

,,

16Tony Gallopin (AG2R La Mondiale)

+05’08”

17Rafal Majka (Bora-hansgrohe)

+05’31”

18Davide Formolo (Bora-hansgrohe)

,,

19Emanuel Buchmann (Bora-hansgrohe)

,,

20Michael Woods (EF Education First-Drapac)

+05’45”

 

General classification after stage 20:

1Simon Yates (Mitchelton-Scott)

79:44:30

2Enric Mas (Quick-Step Floors)

+01’46”

3Miguel Angel Lopez (Astana)

+02’04”

4Steven Kruijswijk (LottoNL-Jumbo)

+02’54”

5Alejandro Valverde (Movistar)

+04’28”

6Thibaut Pinot (Groupama-FDJ)

+05’57”

7Rigoberto Uran (EF Education First-Drapac)

+06’07”

8Nairo Quintana (Movistar)

+06’51”

9Ion Izagirre (Bahrain-Merida)

+11’09”

10Wilco Kelderman (Team Sunweb)

+11’11”

11Tony Gallopin (AG2R La Mondiale)

+12’10”

12Emanuel Buchmann (Bora-hansgrohe)

+14’06”

13Rafal Majka (Bora-hansgrohe)

+17’57”

14Rudy Molard (Groupama-FDJ)

+25’40”

15David De La Cruz (Team Sky)

+27’38”

16Gianluca Brambilla (Trek-Segafredo)

+30’00”

17Mikel Bizkarra (Euskadi-Murias)

+35’46”

18Richard Carapaz (Movistar)

+39’53”

19Jack Haig (Mitchelton-Scott)

+45’32”

20Ilnur Zakarin (Katusha-Alpecin)

+51’17”