Wednesday 19 September 2018

Yates tightens his grip on red jersey

Simon Yates of Britain waves after receiving the Red Leader shirt. Photo: AP
Simon Yates of Britain waves after receiving the Red Leader shirt. Photo: AP

Independent.ie Sportsdesk

Britain's Simon Yates extended his La Vuelta lead with a strong showing in yesterday's individual time trial on stage 16.

Australia's Rohan Dennis won the 32km race from Santillana del Mar to Torrelavega in 37 minutes 57 seconds - 50 seconds clear of his BMC Racing team-mate Joseph Rosskopf of the United States.

Yates (Mitchelton-Scott) finished 13th, 1min 28secs behind Dennis, but crucially ahead of all bar two of his rivals for the general classification.

Dutch rider Steven Kruijswijk of LottoNL-Jumbo stormed home in fourth, 37secs ahead of Yates, and Spain's Enric Mas (QuickStep-Floors) was sixth, 25secs ahead of the Briton.

But Spain's Alejandro Valverde and Colombia's Nairo Quintana (both Movistar) conceded seven and 42secs to Yates, respectively.

The 26-year-old Bury rider, not renowned for his talent against the clock, has a strong cushion with four days of racing remaining ahead of Sunday's processional stage in the Spanish capital.

"I'm happy with my performance. I extended my lead so as far as I'm concerned it was a very good ride," Yates said. "But we have a long way to go. I'm wary of the coming stages. It's still a long road to Madrid. I'm expecting some hard days. Our rivals are still very close."

Yates now leads from Valverde by 33secs, with Kruijswijk, who had begun the day 1:29 behind, now third, 52secs adrift. Quintana dropped to fourth, 1:15 behind.

Yates can expect his advantage to come under attack in today's hilly 17th stage, the 157km route to the Balcon de Bizkaia in the Basque Country.

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