Yates climbs to victory and takes lead in Catalonia
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 kilometres to go, the Englishman joined a small group that broke from the remnants of the peloton. He then accelerated away with two kilometres to go.
“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 hours and 58 seconds, with Chaves, a Colombian who rides for BikeExchange, 13 seconds back.
Alejandro Valverde, a 40-year-old Spaniard, who had sparked the final attack seven kilometres from the summit, was third at 19sec.
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 at 50sec, 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.