Yates tightens Vuelta a Espana grip as Pinot wins 19th stage

Thibaut Pinot wins stage 19 vuelta 2018

Simon Yates (Mitchelton-Scott) tightened his grip on the Vuelta a Espana red jersey on Friday after a thrilling 19th stage in the mountains won by Thibaut Pinot (Groupama-FDJ).

Yates started the 154.4 km ride from Lleida to Andorra with a lead of 25secs over Movistar leader Alejandro Valverde. But, as the Spanish veteran struggled to keep pace on the climb to the summit finish of La Rabassa, Yates forged ahead to stretch his advantage to 1min 38sec.

Yates came in 5sec behind Pinot while Steven Kruijswijk (LottoNL-Jumbo) was 13sec adrift, having been separated from the two frontrunners. Kruijswijk’s strong run means he jumps to third overall, ahead of Enric Mas in fourth, but still 1:58 back on Yates.

Yates led for 13 days at the Giro d’Italia in May, only to wobble at stage 19, allowing Chris Froome to clinch the pink jersey.

“I really need to be careful,” said Yates. “I especially know how it can fall apart in one day. The race isn’t finished yet.”

A gruelling stage 19 had begun in Catalonia and ended at the top of La Rabassa in Andorra, with 2,618 metres of vertical climbing in between.

The drama, however, was saved for the final ascent when Movistar’s Nairo Quintana and Kruijswijk both attacked with 13km left.

Yates, Pinot and Kruijswijk rallied, however, and as Valverde fell away, the trio joined forces to move away from the chasing pack.

Finally, Kruijswijk dropped off, leaving Pinot to dart in front of Yates with 200 metres remaining to claim his second triumph following his win on stage 15.

“It’s really the cherry on the cake,” Pinot said. “It was a beautiful stage, fast, with a nice climb. I went on the attack very early and it paid off.”

Yates stays on course to become the fifth consecutive British Grand Tour champion after Froome won last year’s Tour de France and Tour of Spain, followed by the Giro d’Italia. Geraint Thomas then triumphed at the Tour de France in July.

“It’s one of the biggest races we have, really the pinnacle of the sport almost,” Yates added. “But we’re not there yet. Tomorrow is a very difficult day and anything can happen so until then, we keep our feet on the ground.”

The Vuelta continues with a 97.3km-long stage 20 through Andorra on Saturday, including six classified climbs, ahead of a mainly flat stage to Madrid on Sunday.

Vuelta a Espana 2018 – stage 19 results (Lleida – Andorra. Naturlandia):

1Thibaut Pinot (Groupama-FDJ)


2Simon Yates (Mitchelton-Scott)


3Steven Kruijswijk (LottoNL-Jumbo)


4Rigoberto Uran (EF Education First-Drapac)


5Miguel Angel Lopez (Astana)


6Enric Mas (Quick-Step Floors)


7Wilco Kelderman (Team Sunweb)


8Alejandro Valverde (Movistar)


9Tony Gallopin (AG2R La Mondiale)


10Nairo Quintana (Movistar)


11Rafal Majka (Bora-hansgrohe)


12Alessandro De Marchi (BMC)


13Ilnur Zakarin (Katusha-Alpecin)


14Ion Izagirre (Bahrain-Merida)


15Emanuel Buchmann (Bora-hansgrohe)


16Daniel Moreno (EF Education First-Drapac)


17Rudy Molard (Groupama-FDJ)


18Mikel Bizkarra (Euskadi-Murias)


19Pello Bilbao (Astana)


20Adam Yates (Mitchelton-Scott)



General classification after stage 19:

1Simon Yates (Mitchelton-Scott)


2Alejandro Valverde (Movistar)


3Steven Kruijswijk (LottoNL-Jumbo)


4Enric Mas (Quick-Step Floors)


5Miguel Angel Lopez (Astana)


6Nairo Quintana (Movistar)


7Thibaut Pinot (Groupama-FDJ)


8Rigoberto Uran (EF Education First-Drapac)


9Ion Izagirre (Bahrain-Merida)


10Tony Gallopin (AG2R La Mondiale)


11Emanuel Buchmann (Bora-hansgrohe)


12Wilco Kelderman (Team Sunweb)


13Rafal Majka (Bora-hansgrohe)


14Gianluca Brambilla (Trek-Segafredo)


15Rudy Molard (Groupama-FDJ)


16Jack Haig (Mitchelton-Scott)


17David De La Cruz (Team Sky)


18Mikel Bizkarra (Euskadi-Murias)


19Fabio Aru (UAE Team Emirates)


20Richard Carapaz (Movistar)



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