Adam Yates surged away from a powerful lead group on the final climb to win the third stage of the Tour of Catalonia and take the overall race lead. With five kilometers to go, the Englishman joined a small group that broke from the remnants of the peloton. He then accelerated away with two kilometers to go.
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“I just felt good,” Yates said. “I had enough momentum and enough speed to go straight past.”
Esteban Chaves gave chase, but Yates built a decisive lead on the snow-flanked final hairpins to the finish at the ski station of Vallter 2000. Yates completed the 203.5km stage in 5:00:58, with Chaves, a Colombian who rides for BikeExchange, 13 seconds back. 40-year-old Spaniard, Alejandro Valverde had sparked the final attack seven kilometres from the summit, was third at 00:19. Former Tour de France champion Geraint Thomas finished strongly to take fourth.
Yates also collected a 10-second win bonus and took the overall lead by 45 seconds from his Australian team-mate Richie Porte, who had also been aggressive on the final climb.
“It was a long climb, a very hard climb,” said Yates. “Everything was perfect and in the end we had cards to play… and we played them well, with Richie going with the first move and then I came across and just kept going.”
Portuguese rider Joao Almeida of Deceuninck-Quick-Step, who started the day in the lead, dropped to third 00:50 back with Thomas a further three seconds back to give Ineos three of the top four.
“My first victory for my new team. I’m really happy,” said Yates, who joined Ineos this season.
|1||YATES Adam||INEOS Grenadiers||5:00:58|
|2||CHAVES Esteban||Team BikeExchange||0:13|
|3||VALVERDE Alejandro||Movistar Team||0:19|
|4||THOMAS Geraint||INEOS Grenadiers||0:31|
|5||VANHOUCKE Harm||Lotto Soudal||0:31|
|6||KUSS Sepp||Team Jumbo-Visma||0:31|
|7||CARTHY Hugh||EF Education – Nippo||0:31|
|8||WOODS Michael||Israel Start-Up Nation||0:36|
|9||PORTE Richie||INEOS Grenadiers||0:36|
|10||CICCONE Giulio||Trek – Segafredo||0:36|
|1||YATES Adam||INEOS Grenadiers||9:44:21|
|2||PORTE Richie||INEOS Grenadiers||0:45|
|3||ALMEIDA João||Deceuninck – Quick Step||0:49|
|4||THOMAS Geraint||INEOS Grenadiers||0:53|
|5||KELDERMAN Wilco||BORA – hansgrohe||1:03|
|6||VALVERDE Alejandro||Movistar Team||1:04|
|7||CARTHY Hugh||EF Education – Nippo||1:14|
|8||YATES Simon||Team BikeExchange||1:21|
|9||CHAVES Esteban||Team BikeExchange||1:21|
|10||MCNULTY Brandon||UAE-Team Emirates||1:24|
RBA/AFP Photos: Bettini
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