Simon Yates carried on the family form for ORICA-BikeExchange by taking a solo victory at the Spanish one-day race Prueba Villafranca-Ordiziako Klasika today.
Twenty-four hours after twin brother Adam Yates won the white jersey and fourth overall at the Tour de France, Simon rounded off a great weekend for the Australian outfit with his first victory as a professional.
Canadian strong man Christian Meier animated the early nine-rider breakaway before Australian Damien Howson moved up the field to perfectly set up Yates for the attack.
The 23-year-old Briton brilliantly executed the final move, powering away from a group of around five riders on the final ascent towards the finish to cross the line over 30seconds ahead of his nearest challenger.
“I am really happy with this win,” said Yates. “It’s actually my first victory as a full professional and of course it is very special, especially in such a tough race.”
“The team were fantastic today, we had to be really switched on from the first kilometre and tactically we got it spot on.
“I hope that I can carry this form into the upcoming races, but for sure I am going to enjoy this moment.”
Sport director Neil Stephens was pleased with the performance of Yates and ORICA-BikeExchange and praised the level of concentration from the six-man squad.
“We were very conscious of starting on the back foot today,” said Stephens. “We knew that we were quite heavily outnumbered by most of the other teams, therefore it was imperative that we stayed focused throughout the race.”
“Massive credit to Simon (Yates) and the guys because they really played it perfectly today. It’s a great result and our work ethic and attention levels were of the highest quality.
“It was an intense race from the start and we remained very alert. We knew that Simon had the ability to win here and the way we have achieved that is very satisfying.”
How it happened:
An overcast and sticky morning in Northern Spain welcomed the riders to the start line for the early roll out towards the hills of the Basque country.
A nine-rider breakaway formed early in the stage and included Meier for ORICA-BikeExchange.
After 45kilometres of racing the leaders had over four minutes advantage with lots of climbing still to come.
ORICA-BikeExchange controlled the front of the race for most of the 165.7kilometres before Howson moved up the road as the breakaway was neutralised towards the final climb.
23-year-old Australian Howson perfectly set up Yates for the winning move with a blistering attack ahead of the final climb, thinning out the field before the acceleration of Yates.
With a few kilometres to go the young Briton attacked convincingly on the last climb, holding off four other riders to take an impressive solo victory and set the record for the fastest time up the ascent in the history of the race.
ORICA-BikeExchange are next in action on Saturday 30th of July at the Clasica Ciclista San Sebastian, won last year by twin brother Adam Yates.
Prueba Villafranca-Ordiziako Klasika results:
1. Simon Yates (ORICA-BikeExchange) 03:49:50
2. Angel Mandrazo (Caja-Rural-Seguros RGA) +0:34
3. Alexander Vdovin (Lokosphinx) +0:34