Simon Yates poised to win first Grand Tour
ANTUARIO DE CANOLICH, Andorra — English rider Simon Yates is poised to win his first Grand Tour title after he successfully defended his lead in the Spanish Vuelta through Saturday's 20th stage.
Yates will take his advantage of one minute and 46 seconds, over Enric Mas into the final stage, when race custom dictates the riders don't attack the race leaders on the traditional arrival to Madrid.
"I've made it! It's still sinking in," said Yates, who rides for MitcheltonScott.
"I'm incredibly proud. I'm also incredibly proud of the team. They've carried me for these entire three weeks. It's the first Grand Tour for the team. It's just unbelievable."
Mas moved into second place overall with the stage victory. The Spaniard edged Miguel Angel Lopez of Colombia at the finish of the short but incredibly demanding 97-kilometer route in the tiny nation of Andorra tucked in the Pyrenees Mountains. Riders faced a constant up-and-down route over six categorized climbs including a finish atop the beyond-category Coll de la Gallina.
Andorra is where Yates and his twin brother Adam Yates are based. Adam helped Simon withstand the fast pace set by Lopez's Astana team midway through the stage, then Simon attacked on the fifth climb to ensure he kept the red jersey.
Alejandro Valverde entered the stage in second place, but he withered under Yates' attack and the pursuit by the other top riders. The 38-yearold veteran fell to fifth place in the overall standings.
World ranked No.2 Timur Imametdinov and Nina Bezzubova of Germany during the WDSF Cebu Open 2018 held at the Waterfront Cebu City Hotel and Casino last September 8.