Vuelta a España

Yates primed for Vuelta victory after penultimate stage

Yates primed for Vuelta victory

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With Chris Froome and Geraint Thomas already winning a Grand Tour apiece this year, the Mitchelton-Scott rider is set to follow their lead in Spain.

Simon Yates is set to complete a British clean sweep of the 2018 Grand Tours having increased his lead at the Vuelta a España ahead of the final stage.

The 26-year-old has a one-minute-and-46-second advantage in the general classification standings ahead of Sunday's largely processional stage, and Yates now needs to just cross the finish line in Madrid to claim his first Grand Tour triumph.

His achievement would follow Chris Froome's Giro d'Italia success and Geraint Thomas' Tour de France victory in what has been a dominant year for Britons in road cycling.

Mitchelton-Scott's Yates had started Saturday's penultimate stage with a 98-second cushion and, although there were six big climbs ahead of him, he had the advantage of having been based in the Andorra region where the racing took place.

Of his general classification rivals, Yates easily fended off a couple of attacks from Movistar's Nairo Quintana and he broke with 17 kilometres remaining to leave his nearest challenger Alejandro Valverde way back by the end of the stage.

The stage victory was taken by Enric Mas as he pipped Miguel Ángel López across the line ahead of Yates.

Mas is also set to be on the podium in Madrid as he is second in the general classification standings, with López in third.

Yet it was Yates who was the day's biggest winner as he finally closed on a Grand Tour triumph having come close at the Giro earlier in the year. 

BRITISH DOMINANCE CONTINUES WITH YATES' SUCCESS

It had seemed this year's Vuelta would be one of the most open Grand Tours for years when it was confirmed Team Sky pair Froome and Thomas would not be involved.

And it is another Briton who has shown himself to the best of the rest in Spain.

Yates had led the Giro before a disastrous stage 19, when he tumbled from first to 18th overall as Froome came through to win another major race.

This time around Yates has been able to maintain his pace on more familiar terrain and can now enjoy Sunday's ceremonial stage.

Provided Yates crosses the line without any hiccups, the last five Grand Tours will have been won by Britons.

Stage result

1. Enric Mas (Quick-Step Floors) 2:59.30
2. Miguel Angel Lopez (Astana) +0:00
3. Simon Yates (Mitchelton-Scott) +0:23s
4. Thibaut Pinot (Groupama-FDJ) +0.54s
5. Rigoberto Uran (EF Education First-Drapac) +0.57s 

Points Classification

1. Alejandro Valverde (Movistar) 131 points
2. Simon Yates (Mitchelton-Scott) 104 points
3. Miguel Angel Lopez (Astana) 103 points

King of the Mountains

1. Thomas De Gendt (Lotto-Soudal) 95 points
2. Bauke Mollema (Trek-Segafredo) 83 points
3. Luis Angel Mate (Cofidis) 64 points

Up next

Sunday's final stage will be a processional one as the riders arrive in Madrid at the end of a 100.9km flat section.

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