Ordiziako Klasika winner Simon Yates unleashed a blistering late attack to win stage six of the Vuelta a Espana today after some strong teamwork from ORICA-BikeExchange instigated the intense chase of the breakaway.
The first Grand Tour stage win for the 24-year-old Briton was beautifully executed. After following an attack by Dani Moreno (Movistar) in the closing kilometres Yates took the initiative and dropped his competitors as he accelerated away to a superb solo victory.
”The team did some great work in the beginning and set things up really well for me,” said Yates. ”We wanted to go in there and try to make a hard race. There were lots of twists and turns in the finale, but I managed to take my opportunity and I’m very happy with the result.”
”The roads were pretty difficult there at the end but fortunately I timed my attack to perfection, it was a really hot day but it worked out very well for us in the end.”
The stage win by Yates sees him move into tenth on the general classification ahead of tomorrow’s stage seven with Esteban Chaves still in fifth place, 38seconds down on race leader Darwin Atapuma (BMC).
Sport director Neil Stephens praised the superb performance of Yates and the team.
”Fantastic result,” said Stephens. ”We’d done a detailed reconnaissance of the stage beforehand and we knew that it was going to be difficult, but you can never be sure what the other teams are going to do. So we decided to go on the front foot and liven things up.”
”It wasn’t really the plan for Simon (Yates) to attack but the decision was made by the guys on the road. As the situation progressed we wanted to try and nullify the threat of the other teams and it ended up being a fantastic effort and win from Simon.
”It was a great team performance and the boys worked very hard but they also raced with intelligence and knew exactly when to ease off which proved to be important for the finale.”
How it happened:
A baking hot morning welcomed the riders to the start line for stage six with 163 hilly kilometres ahead.
Numerous breakaway attempts tried to form within the first hour of racing before a group of 11 finally went clear.
After 70kilometres the leaders had two minutes 30seconds on the peloton and for the moment were working well together.
ORICA-BikeExchange began to take the initiative on the front of the bunch on the Alto Alenza climb, bringing the fracturing breakaway group back to one minute 30seconds with an immediate injection of speed.
Riders were being shelled from the peloton as they struggled with the new tempo. Up the road an attack by Omar Fraile (Dimension-Data) split the group of leaders with Fraile quickly gaining a minute on his former companions.
With 40kilometres to go Fraile had stretched his lead over the peloton to three minutes with a group of five in between giving chase one minute back on the Dimension-Data rider.
Fraile continued to push on over the unclassified Chandrexa climb with 30kilometres left to race and Movistar now controlling the chase some two minutes back.
The race started to come back together inside the final 20kilometres Fraile was caught by the trio of chasers led by Jan Bakelants (AG2R-La-Mondiale) as the roads continue to dip and rise towards the finish.
Movistar were still setting the tempo one minute further back as Fraile was dropped after an attack by Mathias Frank (IAM-Cycling) with Bakelants also losing contact.
The situation stayed the same until the final climb with five kilometres to go, Movistar were relentless in the chase and led the reduced bunch past Bakelants.
Moreno attacked followed by Yates with Frank now in sight. A few hundred metres later and Yates unleashed a blistering attack of his own and dropped Moreno then Frank.
Yates went on to take a fantastic stage victory for ORICA-BikeExchange and the Briton moves into the top ten in the general classification.
Tomorrow’s stage seven is the last day in the stunning region of Galicia, covering 158.5kilometres from Maceda to Puebla de Sanabria. Another hilly day includes three categorised climbs before a long descent to the finish.
Vuelta a Espana stage six results:
1. Simon Yates (ORICA-BikeExchange) 04:05:00
2. Luis Leon Sanchez (Astana) 00:00:20
3. Fabio Felline (Trek-Segafredo) 00:00:22
General classification after stage six:
1. Darwin Atapuma (BMC) 21:45:21
2. Alejandro Valverde (Movistar) 00:00:28
3. Christopher Froome (Team-Sky) 00:00:32
5. Esteban Chaves (ORICA-BikeExchange) 00:00:38