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Simon Yates retains red jersey on stage 15 of La Vuelta

Simon Yates retains red jersey on stage 15 of La Vuelta Credit: PA

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 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 reclaims overall leadership of La Vuelta

Britain's Simon Yates reclaimed overall leadership of La Vuelta with victory on the final climb of stage 14 to Les Praeres. Credit: PA

Britain's Simon Yates reclaimed overall leadership of La Vuelta with victory on the final climb of stage 14 to Les Praeres.

Mitchelton-Scott rider Yates had seen Jesus Herrada take the red jersey earlier in the week, but the Spaniard's challenge faded over the closing 30 kilometres of Saturday's gruelling trek.

Yates made his move with some 700 metres to go, breaking clear with neither Miguel Angel Lopez or Alejandro Valverde able to respond - both finishing two seconds behind the stage winner.

The well-crafted victory sees the Briton move into a 20-second overall lead ahead of Movistar rider Valverde, with Nairo Quintana, who could only manage fifth on the final climb, down in third place five seconds further back.

Earlier in the 171km mountain route from Cistierna to Nava, there had been a six-man breakaway which included Team Sky's Michal Kwiatkowski, with the lead on the peloton up to around three minutes and 43 seconds heading into the final 75km.

Herrada struggled to keep up the place and dropped into a split chasing pack.

Dutchman Steven Kruijswijk (LottoNL-Jumbo) made a move heading into the last 4km, but could not sustain the pace before Yates timed his attack to perfection on the steep slopes. Colombian Lopez crossed second, just ahead of Valverde.

Team Sky's Dylan van Baarle, meanwhile, had been forced to abandon the race ahead of Saturday's start after suffering a groin injury in a crash following the finish of stage 12, when he had placed second.

Sunday will see another mountain stage over 185.5km from Ribera de Arriba to the Lakes of Covadonga.

Yates loses red jersey as Geniez claims stage 12 of La Vuelta

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Britain's Simon Yates lost his overall lead in the Vuelta a Espana as Alexandre Geniez claimed victory in a chaotic finish to stage 12 at Manon.

AG2R La Mondiale rider Geniez held firm as an early 18-rider breakaway was whittled down to sprint home ahead of Team Sky's Dylan van Baarle and Mark Padun of Bahrain-Merida.

Spain's Jesus Herrada did enough to grab the lead in the overall classification with an advantage of three minutes and 22 seconds over the now second-placed Yates.

Herrada had been part of the initial breakaway but fell away to finish just over two minutes behind the leading pack, with the peloton which included Yates almost 12 minutes back.

Geniez's win was marred when he swerved to avoid photographers and crashed into a race official shortly after crossing the finish line, bringing down a number of other riders including Van Baarle.

The 181km stage saw a series of attacks from the start until a prominent bunch including the likes of Geniez, Van Baarle and Vincenzo Nibali managed to establish an advantage of over 10 minutes.

A further attack split the leading group but Geniez and Dylan Teuns (BMC) were among those to haul them in, while Herrada hung in in his bid to claim the red jersey.

Despite sporadically losing touch with the leaders, Geniez and Van Baarle worked themselves back into contention and set up the final sprint in which the Frenchman stole a march on his rivals.

Herrada will take his advantage into the forthcoming stages in the Asturias and Leon mountains, while Spanish veteran Alejandro Valverde (Movistar) remains one second behind Yates in third place.


De Marchi powers through rain to win stage 11 of La Vuelta

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Italy's Alessandro De Marchi powered through tricky conditions to win stage 11 of La Vuelta as Britain's Simon Yates clung on to the overall lead.

BMC rider De Marchi opened up a gap on the final uphill section of the 207.8km route from Mombuey to Luintra and comfortably held on for a commanding 28-second victory.

Colombian Jhonatan Restrepo (Katusha Alpecin) emerged through the rain clouds to finish second, while Italian Franco Pellizotti (Bahrain-Merida) was a further 31 seconds behind in third.

Yates, in the red jersey, won this stage last year but could only manage to claim 16th place as he finished two minutes and two seconds off the pace among the main pack.

However, the Mitchelton-Scott rider's closest rivals - Movistar team-mates Alejandro Valverde and Nairo Quintana - also finished in that group.

Spaniard Valverde remains just one second behind Yates in the general classification, while Colombian Quintana is 14 seconds adrift.

Frenchman Thibaut Pinot had threatened to wrestle away the advantage from 26-year-old Yates in north-west Spain, riding half of the race in the virtual overall lead.

But the Groupama-FDJ rider, who began the day in 16th position, two minutes and 33 seconds off the lead, fell away and managed to take only 13 seconds off that deficit.

Viviani wins stage 10 of La Vuelta as Yates retains red

Viviani picked up his second stage win at La Vuelta. Credit: PA

Britain's Simon Yates recovered from a puncture to retain the overall lead at the 2018 Vuelta a Espana as Italian Elia Viviani claimed a second stage victory.

Quick-Step rider Viviani, winner on stage three, edged out world champion Peter Sagan in a sprint finish over Tuesday's mostly flat 177km course from Salamanca to Bermillo de Sayago.

Viviani, overall runner-up to Chris Froome in last year's event, pushed in front following a battle in the last 200 metres to cross almost two bike lengths clear, with countryman Giacomo Nizzolo taking third place.

As the race resumed following a rest day, Jesus Ezquerra (Burgos) and Tiago Machado (Katusha-Alpecin) had at one stage formed a two-man breakaway, but were eventually reeled back into the peloton.

Yates maintained ownership of the red jersey after the Mitchelton-Scott rider was helped to get back on track into the bunch when his bike needed some mechanical repairs heading into the closing 14km.

Nairo Quintana and Wilco Kelderman were also among those to suffer punctures.

Yates is, though, just one second ahead of Alejandro Valverde in the general classifications, with the Spaniard's Movistar team-mate Quintana some 14 seconds adrift.

Stage 11 will be over 208.8kms from Mombuey to Luintra, which will see one second and three third-category climbs.

Gallopin wins stage seven of La Vuelta

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Frenchman Tony Gallopin used a late break to win stage seven of La Vuelta as Rudy Molard retained the leader's red jersey.

Gallopin attacked from the leading group with a little over two kilometres of the 185.5km stage from Puerto Lumbreras to Pozo Alcon remaining, and the AG2R La Mondiale rider had enough in reserve to stay away.

Groupama-FDJ's Molard saw his overall lead grow as Team Sky's Michal Kwiatkowski lost 25 seconds on the other general classification favourites after crashing on a dusty corner inside the final 10 kilometres of the rolling stage.

Frenchman Molard now leads by 47 seconds from Movistar's veteran Spaniard Alejandro Valverde, who finished third on the stage as world champion Peter Sagan won the sprint for second place, five seconds behind Gallopin.

Bora-Hansgrohe's Emanuel Buchmann is a further second back in third overall, with Britain's Simon Yates of Mitchelton-Scott in fourth place, 51 seconds off red.

Kwiatkowski slips to sixth, 66 seconds down as Gallopin's win and bonus seconds move him into fifth place.

"When we came on the last straight road, I had a plan that if I have a possibility I try to attack," Gallopin said. "I found a good moment - and I'm so happy.

"I looked back just before the last corner, maybe 200m, 300m to go and I saw nobody behind me. So I turned and I went full the last straight - I looked back in the final 50m and they were quite far, so I knew that I can win. So it's fantastic."

Clarke wins stage five of La Vuelta as red jersey changes hands

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Australian Simon Clarke won stage five of La Vuelta as Rudy Molard took the leader's red jersey off the shoulders of Team Sky's Michal Kwiatkowski.

Education First-Drapac's Clarke beat Trek-Segafredo's Bauke Mollema and BMC's Alessandro De Marchi in a three-man sprint at the end of the 188.7km stage from Granada to Roquetas de Mar.

They had been part of a 25-man breakaway which also included Groupama-FDJ's Molard, who came home in a second group just eight seconds behind.

With the main peloton, including Kwiatkowski, not crossing the line for another four minutes and 47 seconds, Molard goes into the red jersey by 61 seconds from the Polish rider.

It was the second straight day stage honours had gone to the breakaway following Ben King's victory on stage four, but where the Dimension Data rider fell short of taking red from Kwiatkowski 24 hours earlier, Molard succeeded this time.

There was plenty of climbing on the day but the stage would be defined by the long descent to the finish. It was there Clarke, Mollema and De Marchi broke clear while Molard joined Davide Villella (Astana) and Floris De Tier (LottoNL) in a counter-attack.

Team Sky did initially chase in defence of the red jersey but it was clear as they reached the foot of the descent they were content for Molard to take it as they focused on marking the other general classification hopefuls.

It was a second Vuelta stage win for the 33-year-old Clarke, with the other coming back in 2012.

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