Vuelta a Espana 2016: Simon Yates bags first Grand Tour stage win

British ace attacks late to claim victory and join fellow Brits Chris Froome and Peter Kennaugh in top ten overall

Great Britain’s Simon Yates (Orica-BikeExchange) soloed to his first career Grand Tour stage win on stage six of the 2016 Vuelta a Espana.

Yates attacked from the peloton on the day’s final unclassified climb and opened up enough of an advantage to bag the biggest victory of his career to date.

The Bury-born 23-year-old’s success is his second victory of the season since returning from a doping ban, after an administrative error by his team led to an adverse analytical finding.

It ruled him out of the Tour de France, where twin brother Adam finished fourth overall and claimed the white jersey of best young rider, but Yates ensured he bounced back in style with a perfectly-timed attack.

Simon Yates soloed to victory on stage six of the Vuelta a Espana (pic: Sirotti)

Having also won the Prueba Villafranca-Ordiziako Klasika in July, it marks the Brits’ second win on Spanish soil, exactly one month apart.

With Chris Froome, who is currently third overall, in the peloton with all of the main GC men as they closed in on leading riders, Yates seized his opportunity to forge clear.

Initially following the wheel of Movistar rider Daniel Moreno, Yates quickly passed the Spaniard and pressed on to catch and pass Matthias Frank (IAM Cycling), who was alone at the front of the race.

With the finale packed with uncategorised climbs, a late attack always looked likely to stick and nobody could follow Yates’ well-timed acceleration.

Luis Leon Sanchez (Astana) gave chase but as Yates’ turned to check his advantage in the final two kilometres, the Spaniard was nowhere in sight.

The Orica-BikeExchange man finished 20 seconds clear of Sanchez to claim his first Grand Tour stage win, and moves tenth overall as a result.

“That wasn’t planned,” he admitted after the finish. “I just wanted to make a hard race and I’m very happy.

“It was pretty crazy – lots of twists and turns and hard roads there as well – but I managed to come down perfectly there in the finish and I timed my attack to perfection.”


Yates’ first Grand Tour stage win means he is now tenth overall (pic: Sirotti)

Froome finished in the peloton, 29 seconds after Yates, with race leader Darwin Atapuma (BMC Racing) and second-placed Alejandro Valverde (Movistar), meaning no change at the sharp end of the general classification.

Tour de France champion Froome is 32 seconds behind Atapuma, while Valverde sits second at 28 seconds.

Yates is 1’28” back and is now one of three Brits currently inside the top ten, with Peter Kennaugh – who wore the red jersey after Team Sky won the stage one team time trial – eighth at 1’14”.

Vuelta a Espana 2016: stage six – result

1) Simon Yates (GBR) – Orica-BikeExchange – 4.05.00
2) Luis Leon Sanchez (ESP) – Astana +20”
3) Fabio Felline (ITA) – Trek-Segafredo +22”
4) Ben Hermans (BEL) – BMC Racing – ST
5) Kenny Elissonde (FRA) – FDJ
6) Daniel Moreno (ESP) – Movistar
7) Mathias Frank (SUI) – IAM Cycling
8) Alejandro Valverde (ESP) – Movistar +29”
9) Romain Hardy (FRA) – Cofidis – ST
10) Simon Clarke (AUS) – Cannondale-Drapac

General classification

1) Darwin Atapuma (COL) – BMC Racing – 21.45.21hrs
2) Alejandro Valverde (ESP) – Movistar +28”
3) Chris Froome (GBR) – Team Sky +32”
4) Nairo Quintana (COL) – Movistar +38”
5) Johan Esteban Chaves (COL) – Orica-BikeExchange – ST
6) Samuel Sanchez (ESP) – BMC Racing +1.07
7) Leopold Konig (CZE) – Team Sky +1.12
8) Peter Kennaugh (GBR) – Team Sky +1.14
9) Gianluca Brambilla (ITA) – Etixx-QuickStep +1.22
10) Simon Yates (GBR) – Orica-BikeExchange +1.28

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