Vuelta Stage 17: Yates Still Leads

Race leader Simon Yates fights through dangerous stage 17 at La Vuelta for another day in red with help of secret weapon in brother Adam

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Vuelta Stage 17: Yates Still Leads

Stage 14 winner Simon Yates has successfully defended the overall lead on a dangerous stage 17 at the Vuelta a Espana thanks to a strong effort from his Mitchelton-SCOTT outfit.

Pic: Getty Images

As Michael Woods (Education First – Drapac) won the stage from the breakaway ahead, Yates sacrificed eight seconds to Alejandro Valverde (Movistar Team) and Enris Mas (Quickstep Floors) in the sprint to the line but gained time on his other major rivals.

Aware of the danger ahead, Mitchelton-SCOTT were on high alert at the start of stage 17 and prepared for a big fight to control the riders who made the break. Unsurprisingly, it was the target for a lot of teams and 21 riders eventually rode off the front before being joined by five more. The group of 26 rode out to an advantage of over seven minutes as Alex Edmondson, Luka Mezgec and Matteo Trentin shouldered a lot of the work at the front of the peloton for Mitchelton-SCOTT.

Euskadi – Murias were keen to show their colours on their home roads before Astana Pro Team took over for the two climbs before the tough final ascent. The injection of pace shrunk the gap but it never threatened the break’s chances of stage honours, eventually won by Woods. In the GC battle, going early from the bottom of the climb, Valverde was the first of the favourites to attack but with three riders still in the group, Mitchelton-SCOTT closed the move down thanks to Jack Haig.
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Shortly after, Adam Yates moved to the front of the group, with brother Simon in tow, setting a pace that dropped a number of contenders and nullified any serious attacks until the final sprint to the line where Valverde and Mas gained eight seconds and others relinquished time. Miguel Angel Lopez (Astana Pro Team) lost just two seconds, but Steven Kruijswijk (Team LottoNL-Jumbo) and Nairo Quintana (Movistar Team) conceeded 56 seconds apiece.

Simon Yates: “We employed our secret weapon in Adam over the last kilometres, that’s why we’ve been saving him for this final section of the race and Jack was around the mark also. The whole team were there today, and they did a fantastic job. I lost a few seconds in the sprint there in the end, it’s no shame to lose a few seconds to Valverde in a sprint and I put time into a few other people so all in all it was a good day.”

“We expect aggressive, attacking racing from Valverde and Movistar – I don’t think he knows any other way to ride and he has a very strong team around him. Of all the stages left I was most afraid of this one but there’s still a lot of hard racing to come. Tomorrow should be a sprint day and we can hopefully take it a bit easier, although you never know, and then we have Andorra. I think those stages will suit me better than today, but we’ll see.”

Alejandro Valverde (Movistar Team): “I had spoken with Nairo (Quintana) and he had told me he was feeling good. Then, with such humidity and the changes of temperature, anything can happen. Maybe he felt a bit the efforts from the time-trial. We’ll speak in the hotel to see what we can do from now on. Enric (Mas) is third, of course he can win La Vuelta. It’s difficult but he’s going step by step. I’m not so far either.”

Pic: Getty Images

Michael Woods – Stage winner – (Education First-Drapac): “It’s a special moment for me. I was very moved on the finish line. There were so many people on the side of the road screaming my name… My coach was in the car and in the final 500 metres he told me on the radio to think about my family. My wife was pregnant for 37 weeks and we lost the kid. We were going to name him Hunter. My wife also lost her father one month ago. It’s been a very hard year. I was cracked on the finish line. I bluffed Dylan Teuns in the end, I thought I didn’t have so many metres to go when I accelerated and then I saw the sign for the 500 metres to go. I figured I still had two minutes of effort. I tried to stay calm, I tried to think of my family and to think of my little Hunter as an inspiration. This is also a special area for me. I love racing in the Basque Country. The fans are amazing.”
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Stage 17
1. Michael Woods Team EF Education First-Drapac 4:09:48
2. Dylan Teuns BMC Racing Team 0:05
3. David de la Cruz Team Sky 0:10
4. Rafał Majka BORA – hansgrohe 0:13
5. Ilnur Zakarin Team Katusha – Alpecin 0:38
6. Alessandro De Marchi BMC Racing Team 0:44
7. Amanuel Ghebreigzabhier Team Dimension Data 0:48
8. Jesús Herrada Cofidis, Solutions Crédits 0:51
9. Jai Hindley Team Sunweb 0:55
10. Vincenzo Nibali Bahrain Merida Pro Cycling Team 1:48

13. Jonathan Castroviejo Team Sky 1:57
14. Enric Mas Quick-Step Floors 2:40
15. Alejandro Valverde Movistar Team
17. Simon Yates Mitchelton-Scott 2:48
18. Miguel López Astana Pro Team 2:50
21. Adam Yates Mitchelton-Scott 3:08
22. Steven Kruijswijk Team LottoNL-Jumbo 3:44
23. Nairo Quintana Movistar Team
25. Rigoberto Urán Team EF Education First-Drapac 4:09
29. Wilco Kelderman Team Sunweb 4:55

1. Simon Yates Mitchelton-Scott 69:05:34
2. Alejandro Valverde Movistar Team 0:25
3. Enric Mas Quick-Step Floors 1:22
4. Miguel López Astana Pro Team 1:36
5. Steven Kruijswijk Team LottoNL-Jumbo 1:48
6. Nairo Quintana Movistar Team 2:11
7. Ion Izagirre Bahrain Merida Pro Cycling Team 4:09
8. Rigoberto Urán Team EF Education First-Drapac p/b Cannondale 4:36
9. Thibaut Pinot Groupama – FDJ 5:31
10. Tony Gallopin AG2R La Mondiale 6:05


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