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Yates on target for first Grand Tour title

Simon Yates Credit: Press Association

Simon Yates retained the race leader's red jersey on stage 15 of La Vuelta to increase the likelihood of all three Grand Tours being won by Britons.

After Chris Froome's Giro d'Italia triumph in May and Geraint Thomas' Tour de France success in July, there could be a unique hat-trick for British cycling if Yates can hold on for another week, to the finish in Madrid.

The Mitchelton-Scott rider, from Bury, holds a lead of 26 seconds over Spain's Alejandro Valverde entering Monday's second rest day.

France's Thibaut Pinot (Groupama-FDJ) won Sunday's 178.2-kilometres stage from Ribera de Arriba to Lagos de Coavadonga by 28secs from Spain's Miguel Angel Lopez (Astana).

Pinot attacked with 6km to go to prevail, while the 26-year-old Yates was two seconds further behind in third.

Valverde was fourth, conceding two more seconds to the Briton.

Yates retains the red jersey Credit: Press Association

Team Sky's Froome won La Vuelta 12 months ago and held all three Grand Tour titles at the same time following his Giro win earlier this year.

Froome, speaking after completing the Tour of Britain, said: "That would be massive if he can win that at this stage of his career.

"He came very close in the Giro this year, so it will be quite nice for him.

"It would be pretty special if Brits win all three Grand Tours. But it is a tough race and he's got some big opponents. Let's see how these next few days go."