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):

1 Thibaut Pinot (Groupama-FDJ)


2 Simon Yates (Mitchelton-Scott)


3 Steven Kruijswijk (LottoNL-Jumbo)


4 Rigoberto Uran (EF Education First-Drapac)


5 Miguel Angel Lopez (Astana)


6 Enric Mas (Quick-Step Floors)


7 Wilco Kelderman (Team Sunweb)


8 Alejandro Valverde (Movistar)


9 Tony Gallopin (AG2R La Mondiale)


10 Nairo Quintana (Movistar)


11 Rafal Majka (Bora-hansgrohe)


12 Alessandro De Marchi (BMC)


13 Ilnur Zakarin (Katusha-Alpecin)


14 Ion Izagirre (Bahrain-Merida)


15 Emanuel Buchmann (Bora-hansgrohe)


16 Daniel Moreno (EF Education First-Drapac)


17 Rudy Molard (Groupama-FDJ)


18 Mikel Bizkarra (Euskadi-Murias)


19 Pello Bilbao (Astana)


20 Adam Yates (Mitchelton-Scott)



General classification after stage 19:

1 Simon Yates (Mitchelton-Scott)


2 Alejandro Valverde (Movistar)


3 Steven Kruijswijk (LottoNL-Jumbo)


4 Enric Mas (Quick-Step Floors)


5 Miguel Angel Lopez (Astana)


6 Nairo Quintana (Movistar)


7 Thibaut Pinot (Groupama-FDJ)


8 Rigoberto Uran (EF Education First-Drapac)


9 Ion Izagirre (Bahrain-Merida)


10 Tony Gallopin (AG2R La Mondiale)


11 Emanuel Buchmann (Bora-hansgrohe)


12 Wilco Kelderman (Team Sunweb)


13 Rafal Majka (Bora-hansgrohe)


14 Gianluca Brambilla (Trek-Segafredo)


15 Rudy Molard (Groupama-FDJ)


16 Jack Haig (Mitchelton-Scott)


17 David De La Cruz (Team Sky)


18 Mikel Bizkarra (Euskadi-Murias)


19 Fabio Aru (UAE Team Emirates)


20 Richard Carapaz (Movistar)



Please enter your comment!
Please enter your name here