Valverde trims Yates’ lead as battle for Vuelta a Espana heats up

Alejandro Valverde vuelta 2018

Simon Yates’ slender lead in the Vuelta a Espana was cut from 33 to 25 seconds after the Briton lost ground to Alejandro Valverde in Wednesday’s mountain stage, which was won by Michael Woods.

Woods snatched a first grand tour victory by edging ahead of Dylan Teuns in thick mist 400 metres from the summit finish of the Balcon de Bizkaia mountain at the end of the 157km stage from Getxo, outlasting a breakaway also containing David de la Cruz and Rafal Majka.

Teuns finished five seconds behind Woods while De La Cruz finished third, 10 back.

Yates, bidding to become the second consecutive Briton to win the Vuelta after Chris Froome’s victory last year, finished two minutes 48 seconds behind Woods in 17th place, third fastest of the general classification hopefuls, losing eight seconds to Spaniards Valverde and Enric Mas.

Nairo Quintana’s hopes of a repeat of his 2016 Vuelta victory faded further as the Colombian finished three minutes 44 seconds behind Woods, sliding down to sixth place overall, two minutes 11 seconds off Yates.

Steven Kruijswijk had climbed into third the day before following a successful time trial but he fell back to fifth place after a disappointing performance in the mountains, with Mas taking his spot in third, one minute 22 seconds behind Yates.

Thursday sees the final flat stage of the Vuelta, a 186.1km route from Ejea de los Caballeros to Lleida before two final summit finishes in the Pyrenees mountains, which will almost certainly determine the winner of the race, which culminates with Sunday’s procession through Madrid.

Vuelta a Espana 2018 – stage 17 results (Getxo – Balcón de Bizkaia):

1 Michael Woods (EF Education First-Drapac)


2 Dylan Teuns (BMC)


3 David De La Cruz (Team Sky)


4 Rafal Majka (Bora-hansgrohe)


5 Ilnur Zakarin (Katusha-Alpecin)


6 Alessandro De Marchi (BMC)


7 Amanuel Ghebreigzabhier (Dimension Data)


8 Jesus Herrada (Cofidis)


9 Jai Hindley (Team Sunweb)


10 Vincenzo Nibali (Bahrain-Merida)


11 Stephane Rossetto (Cofidis)


12 Merhawi Kudus (Dimension Data)


13 Jonathan Castroviejo (Team Sky)


14 Enric Mas (Quick-Step Floors)


15 Alejandro Valverde (Movistar)


16 Hector Saez Benito (Euskadi-Murias)


17 Simon Yates (Mitchelton-Scott)


18 Miguel Angel Lopez (Astana)


19 Omar Fraile (Astana)


20 Cristian Rodriguez (Caja Rural-Seguros RGA)



General classification after stage 17:

1 Simon Yates (Mitchelton-Scott)


2 Alejandro Valverde (Movistar)


3 Enric Mas (Quick-Step Floors)


4 Miguel Angel Lopez (Astana)


5 Steven Kruijswijk (LottoNL-Jumbo)


6 Nairo Quintana (Movistar)


7 Ion Izagirre (Bahrain-Merida)


8 Rigoberto Uran (EF Education First-Drapac)


9 Thibaut Pinot (Groupama-FDJ)


10 Tony Gallopin (AG2R La Mondiale)


11 Emanuel Buchmann (Bora-hansgrohe)


12 Wilco Kelderman (Team Sunweb)


13 David De La Cruz (Team Sky)


14 Rafal Majka (Bora-hansgrohe)


15 Gianluca Brambilla (Trek-Segafredo)


16 Jack Haig (Mitchelton-Scott)


17 Rudy Molard (Groupama-FDJ)


18 Fabio Aru (UAE Team Emirates)


19 Hermann Pernsteiner (Bahrain-Merida)


20 Mikel Bizkarra (Euskadi-Murias)



Please enter your comment!
Please enter your name here